Campbell River RCMP are warning residents of an internet extortion scheme encouraging its victims to get undressed in front of web cameras.
Mounties have received multiple complaints over the month of August 2021 of the scheme which takes advantage of the openness of social media video chat sites.
Const. Maury Tyre said the scam is simple.
“An attractive individual who claims you have mutual friends sends you a friend request and then quite quickly will request a video chat,” he explained.
“They claim their audio is broken so they type with the victim and then start to take off their clothes and sexually gratify themselves.
“When they do this, they request the victim does the same.”
Meanwhile, the video is being recorded – and based on the complaints received by police – the person typing is likely located in a call centre somewhere in Eastern Europe.
“The moment the victim disrobes, they start to receive messages advising them that what they are doing is being recorded and then the scammer demands money or they will release the video to all contacts on the victim’s friends lists,” Tyre added.
“Much like a lot of the telephone scams that people are aware of, the scammers use a high pressure sales tactic to get people to send money quickly before being able to think about it.”
Tyre provided a few tips for potential victims.
“First and foremost, don’t get naked on the Internet,” he said. “Your Internet data (can last) forever. If you do choose to get naked on the Internet, confirm you know who you are dealing with.”
Another important thing to watch for is most scam accounts have not been online for lone, and have few actual friends – if it seems fishy, it probably is.
“If you are being scammed, immediately cut contact with the scammer, and report the scammer’s profile to the site provider.
“You may wish to close your account down too ,” Tyre added. “If there’s no account, there is no friends list to send a video to.”
He recommends victims do not send money.
“These individuals are playing a bulk game, and typically if they can’t get anything, they move on.”
Tyre said the best thing Internet users can do is to conduct themselves like the world is watching: ‘because they are.”
“In modern times, how you portray yourself on the Internet can have serious effects on your life. Before you hit send, or venture onto a sight, it may be worthwhile to think WWGT: what would Grandma think?
“If she would be horrified, then maybe don’t talk or act that way on the Internet or at all –it could save you a great deal of trouble in the long run.”
Due to the nature of this kind of internet fraud, they go under reported.
Victims of fraud/extortion are asked to contact the Campbell River RCMP at 250-286-6221.