May 30, 2018, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia . . . Since January 1, 2018, Halifax District RCMP has responded to six incidents of “sextortion” and the RCMP would like to warn the public about this scam.
The term “sextortion” has been used to describe a situation where an online relationship evolves to the point where the suspect, whom the victim has only met online, requests the victim perform a sex act during an online video chat. The suspect then reveals to the victim that they have surreptitiously recorded the act, demands money, and threatens to release the video to the victim’s contacts if they don’t comply.
In five of the six cases the victims were men and the suspect was a woman. The age range of the victims was from 17 to 52. In only one of the incidents, a victim sent money as demanded.
While the videos were never sent to the victim’s contacts as the suspect threatened to do in all six incidents, that doesn’t mean it will never happen. S/Sgt. Royce MacRae, of Nova Scotia RCMP Tech Crime Unit, says, “If you make a video or take a photo and that device has the ability to connect to the internet, the content can potentially be seen by anyone. One way to protect yourself from this type of scam is to avoid accepting friend requests from strangers.”
Some of the investigations are ongoing and some have been concluded without charges being laid, as the suspects cannot be located or identified.
Halifax District RCMP is asking the public to report any suspicious activity at 902-490-5020. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can also be contacted for assistance, at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm