The Nova Scotia RCMP is warning the public about a new sextortion tactic being used to target youth.
Police began investigating after receiving reports about the new scam that involves a suspect placing an image of a young person's face over a video or photo so it appears that the youth is nude or engaging in sexual acts. The suspect threatens to send the images to the victim's family and friends if they don't send money or gift cards.
These scams may also involve a suspect doing the following in combination with the new tactic:
- Contact a victim's family via social media to show they can follow through on the threats made;
- Create a fake social media account using the victim's name to share video or photo with others;
- Use photo filters from social media applications to make themselves appear younger.
The recent incidents reported were targeted at youth, however, adults may also be targeted. Below are a few tips to help keep you and your children safe online:
- Never answer video calls from people you don't know;
- If you mistakenly connect with someone you don't know over livestream, immediately hang-up;
- Always answer video calls with the camera turned off until you know who the person calling is.
If you or your child has been targeted, please do the following:
- Report it to your local police. There is help.
- Immediately stop all communication with the suspect.
- Ensure that you and/or your child do not comply with the threat.
- Keep any correspondence between you or your child and the suspect.
- Remember that you are not alone.
Police would also like to remind the public that they are able to report child exploitation online and seek support at www.cybertip.ca. The Cybertip website also allows the public to subscribe to alerts, which include notifications of new trends and safety tips for communicating with others online.
Note to media: Subject Matter Experts are available upon request to answer questions related to child exploitation.