The RCMP is putting the serious problem of so-called “sextortion” back on the public’s radar.
Sextortion is the practice of threatening to share sexual images or videos unless the victim pays money or provides more images or videos.
Police say in many cases the victim meets the perpetrator online through social media or dating apps and forms an online relationship. They share nude images or videos while assuming they’re in a mutual relationship, but the content is instead used as a form of blackmail or extortion.
In other cases, a person gets an email claiming their computer has been hacked, and that nude or intimate images or videos of the victim, including porn sites they may have visited, have been accessed. The person is told to send money or to buy bitcoin or risk having the content sent to family and friends.
Police say they believe the threats are false and say the best way to avoid such scams is to not share such content in the first place, and to disconnect webcams when they’re not in use. They also say choosing a complex password for all devices is a good idea, and to keep anti-virus software up-to-date.
Such incidents should also be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or by calling 1-888-495-8501.