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RCMP warning about extortion scam using social media

The Alberta RCMP is advising the public after they’ve received concerning reports of an extortion scam leveraging the victim’s nude photos for money.

The RCMP says they’ve seen the scam especially in the southern and central parts of the province. In a number of these crimes, the victim receives a friend request from what has been typically a female, or other messages on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or on a dating application.

This leads to conversations via direct messages, where the suspect or suspects asks for nude images. When they receive these images, the suspect then threatens to send the photo to the victim’s contacts, friends or family.

Oftentimes, the scammer will connect with family members or friends on social media as an attempt to demonstrate they’re capable of their threats. Some offenders, the RCMP adds, are using filters to appear younger on live-streams or in photos.

Police officers recommend that people don’t accept friend requests from people they don’t know, and to not send nude images or videos. If someone is being threatened, they should not comply and instead reach out to police, stop communication if someone is demanding money and keep all correspondence with the suspect so officers can investigate.

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The RCMP also explains there are resources for victims of sextortion, and lists of places to turn should people need help in this situation. These include dontgetsextorted.ca, needhelpnow.ca and cybertip.ca/sextortion, which has offender tactics and warning signs. 

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