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Increased number of sextortion incidents prompt warning from police

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Burnaby RCMP has issued a public alert after it's seen about 24 cases involving sextortion since May

Mounties are urging caution as it sees a rise in the number of incidents involving sextortion in Burnaby

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – A rise in the number of incidents involving the threat of releasing intimate videos, pictures, or messages online has prompted a warning from the Burnaby RCMP.

Mounties say the detachment has investigated 24 incidents of sextortion since May, some of which resulted in the victim transferring money to the suspect.

Because of this, police are urging people to be extra cautious when talking to people they don’t know online.

The RCMP highlights two different scenarios when it comes to sextortion. In the first case, a victim will receive an unsolicited friend request on social media.

“The suspect will engage the victim in online chat and will ask to take the conversation to a video sharing platform,” Mounties say. “The suspect will then ask the victim to engage in some form of sexual activity including nudity and/or masturbation.”

That’s when police say the accused ends the chat and tells the victim they have a recording of what’s taken place, and threaten to release the video, pictures or conversation to the victim’s friends unless a payment is made.

The payment is usually made via Bitcoin or money transfer, the RCMP adds.

Another scenario involves a victim getting an unsolicited email from a person who claims to have pornographic content containing the victim. In this case, the RCMP says the accused threatens to send the video to all of the victim’s email contacts unless a payment is sent — again usually via Bitcoin or money transfer.

Alternatively, the suspect may even threaten to expose a victim’s use of porn sites. In some cases, the person might have an old password the person being threatened has used in the past, either for email or for another website.

“Police are asking that web users be careful of who they are engaging with online and to always be mindful that their actions may be recorded,” a release reads. “Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know on social media.”

If someone is trying to extort money from you, the RCMP recommends not complying with the threat, cutting all communication with the suspect, keeping any conversation you’ve had with them, and calling police right away.