Police say there’s been a steady rise in sextortion scams taking place in Surrey.
The Surrey RCMP says they’ve received multiple reports of incidents within the past seven days.
Sextortion is when someone threatens to send or reveal a sexual image or video of a person unless a sum of money or more content is provided.
The RCMP explains that in most reports, “individuals received an email where the scammer claimed to have hacked into their computer and recorded them performing an explicit act.”
“The scammer states they will release the video publicly unless they are paid in Bitcoin,” reads an emailed statement. “In these cases, there was no proof of photos or videos actually being taken.”
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The scammers will typically mention a password that the victim is currently using, or has previously used. Police say that these passwords are often obtained through a previous data breach — not as a result of the computers being hacked.
Another form of sextortion includes individuals who willingly sent nude or explicit content to people they know or met online. The photos or videos are later used to extort money from the victims.
Lyndsay O’Ruairc, Staff Sergeant for the RCMP, says that “it’s never a good idea to share intimate photos of yourself online — even if it’s with a person you trust.”
Some tips to protect yourself or a loved one from sextortion is to disable your webcam or any other cameras connected to the internet while they aren’t in use, using complex passwords and changing them frequently, and not sending intimate photos of yourself to anyone or online.