Scammers are luring people in with promises of online relationships, only to later extort money from their victims. (File photo)

Scammers are luring people in with promises of online relationships, only to later extort money from their victims. (File photo)

Kelowna RCMP warn of ‘sextortion’ scams

RCMP say social media users should be cautious of unsolicited friend requests

Kelowna RCMP are warning of “sextortion” scams making their way around social media platforms.

“In the time of a global pandemic, romance scammers are alive and well all over the internet,” RCMP stated in a release. “And while it might be easy to lose yourself in a new romantic interest, it’s important to remember to keep yourself and your privacy safe.”

Often, these scams start with unsolicited friend requests, which soon turn into online relationships. As those relationships develop, scammers encourage people to send explicit photographs or videos of themselves. Later, you’re contacted and told that the photograph or video will be sent to your loved ones, or posted online unless you pay money.

READ MORE: Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

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The RCMP offers the following advice to avoid such situations:

  • Do not accept friend requests from strangers on social media
  • Disable your webcam when you are not using it
  • Do not share explicit photographs or videos with anyone

And if you do find yourself the victim of such a scam, the RCMP advises you do the following:

  1. Stop communicating with the individual immediately
  2. Save all correspondence
  3. Report the matter to your local police

“It’s also very important to have conversations about internet safety with your children,” says Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy. “They need to know how to keep themselves safe, and to report threatening or sexually suggestive behaviour they encounter to a trusted adult immediately.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
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