Extortion scam circulating online in Leduc
Take caution with friend requests from strangers, police warn
RCMP are issuing a warning after a number of people in the Leduc area were blackmailed for money after sharing "compromising" photographs of themselves online.
In a statement issued Friday, police said they have recently received a number of reports from people who have been targeted in the social media scam.
"Right now we do not see a specific age group. It's anyone really. It's male and female and it's all different ages," said Cst. Troy Lewis about the victims in the case.
"We've received multiple reports, but it's an ongoing investigation so I can't go into detail on how many reports we've received."
Police said victims are contacted through various social media platforms, starting with a friend request from a stranger.
When the person accepts the friend request, the scammer then works to "bait" them into providing "compromising images" of themselves, which are then used to blackmail the victim, police said.
The scammers demand money, and threaten to release the private images to the victim's friends, family and the public, if they fail to comply.
"Compromising images could be anything from someone being in a bathing suit to maybe even nudity," said Lewis.
Police are not aware of any victims who have actually complied with demands for cash.
RCMP are encouraging social media users to exercise caution when accepting new friend requests, especially when private or compromising images are requested.
"We're hoping that people, before they do get on social media and add someone, they'll make sure they know who they are first and foremost, "said Lewis.
"And make sure you know a little more about them before you do start chatting with them and sending any type of money or pictures over the line."