Nova Scotia

RCMP warn of new sextortion tactic targeting youth

RCMP say youth are being targeted with a new sextortion tactic, but adults could fall victim to it, too.

Do not comply with online threats and keep records of communication with perpetrators, police say

Nova Scotia RCMP say people should not answer video calls from people they don't know to protect against this type of scam. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia RCMP are warning the public about the emergence of a new sextortion tactic that's lately been used against youth across Canada.

In a news release issued Wednesday, police said they've received reports of scammers superimposing an image of a victim's face over a video or photo so it appears the person is nude or engaging in sexual acts.

What follows are threats to the victim of sharing the doctored images with friends and family, unless the victim sends money or gift cards.

In some instances, police said, scammers may contact the victim's family or friends via social media to show that they can follow through on the threat. They may also create fake social media accounts in the victim's name, or use photo filters to make themselves look younger.

Police said the recent reports were targeted at youth but adults are not immune.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Marshall said there have been no reports of this tactic being used in Nova Scotia, but nationally police have recorded cases.

Marshall said Nova Scotia RCMP are trying to get ahead of the trend by educating the public. 

Police suggest the following to avoid falling victim to this type of scam:

  • Never answer video calls from people you don't know.
  • If you mistakenly connect with someone you don't know over live stream, immediately hang up.
  • Always answer video calls with the camera turned off until you know the identity of the person calling.

Anyone who finds themselves targeted should immediately stop communicating with the suspected scammer and report it to police. Child exploitation can be reported online at www.cybertip.ca.

Police said victims should not comply with threats, and should keep records of any correspondence with the perpetrator.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated this tactic was being used in Nova Scotia. The RCMP say they have begun to see this tactic being employed on young people in other provinces, however they have not yet had any reports of it being used in Nova Scotia. This story has been updated.
    Apr 28, 2021 2:26 PM AT

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