Boys and men in New Westminster have increasingly fallen victim to sextortion scams, police warn.
The police department is urging victims to contact police if scammers target them as it believes many cases go under-reported crime.
“These victims are contacted on social media platforms by someone using a fake account and typically posing as female. They set their location to be somewhere near the victim and ask the victim to send sexually explicit photos, then threaten to release the illicit images unless a ransom is paid,” police explained.
“Demands for money often come from international organized criminal networks.”
Last year, the number of sextortion cases rose from 12 in 2021 to 29 in New Westminster, police said.
“Victims rarely have any idea what to do. They’re in a state of panic and are often dealing with tremendous fear, shame, and significant financial loss,” stated Sergeant Andrew Leaver.
Approximately 91% of sextortion victims are male, and 79% of sextortion incidents occur on Instagram or Snapchat, according to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
Police are advising victims to contact officials instead of paying money or complying with the fraudsters.
“Investigators also suggest that victims block the fraudster, but not to delete any messages or your social media profile and then speak to someone they trust,” a press release reads.
Victims can contact the New Westminster Police Department by calling 604-525-5411.