OPP warn of sextortion scams

sexting

The Ontario Provincial Police are warning the public of possible sextortion scams that are currently circulating within the Eastern region of Ontario.

Recent reports involve scammers contacting victims through social media, or online dating sites, and threatening to share intimate photos of them. This usually includes sending them to their family, friends, and contacts unless the victim pays them a sum of money.

Scammers usually request funds via e-transfer, cryptocurrency, and gift cards. According to the Canadian anti-fraud centre, extortion frauds represent $17 million in reported losses in 2021 and over $16.4 million in 2020.

Sextortion frauds can begin on any social media, dating site, or online game, where the context is for people to meet and communicate virtually. 

Additionally, the Ontario Provincial Police is providing a few helpful hints to avoid becoming a victim of sextortion:

  • Beware of unknown persons who attempt to communicate with you over the internet

  •  Never send money to people you do not know

  • Never send compromising photos to anyone, regardless of who you may think the person is

  •  Cover web cameras when not in use

  •  Do not store sensitive/intimate images or information online or on your mobile device

  •  Use strong passwords and do not use the same password for multiple social media accounts/websites

  •  Ensure that security settings for social media accounts are activated and set at the highest level of privacy protection

  •  Report abuse to the various social media platforms, in order to ensure the scammers are held accountable and to prevent further victims. 

If a scammer contacts you, or if you have been defrauded, contact your local police service or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. 

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