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Fort St. John RCMP see increase in online extortion attempts

The Fort St John RCMP is warning the public about one of the dangers of social media which is turning into a rash of police files.

Over the past few days, the Fort St John RCMP has received numerous reports from individuals who have went from making a new friend online to be extorted for money.  The Fort St John RCMP want to help you protect yourself from this type of incident.

How does it work?

Typically an individual has received some type of friend request on various social media platforms which has been accepted because they are usually a shared friend with someone they already know.

Once the friend request is received, the individual receives a link for some type of video chat which in turn leads to some type of sexual act occurring while on the video chat. 

A short time later, the individual receives a message or email saying that the interaction was recorded and that the video will be released to family and friends unless a certain amount of money is paid.

“As anonymous as social media may seem, certain activities can come with some terrible consequences,” said Constable Chad Neustaeter, Media Relations Officer for the Fort St John RCMP detachment.  “Individuals need to take steps to protect themselves because there are always those looking to take advantage of others.” 

Steps to keep yourself safe online:

  • Don’t accept friend request from people you don’t know,
  • Don’t share any personal information with anyone such as date of birth, Social Insurance Number or banking information,
  • Don’t share intimate photos of yourself because once you have sent them, you can never get them back,
  • Be aware that the person on the other end of a video chat could be video recording the entire interaction.

What to do if you are a victim of extortion?

Police advise that it is best if money is not forwarded in these extortion requests.

Make a report to your local police.

If you shared banking information, contact your bank, flag your accounts and check in with both credit bureaus, either Equifax or TransUnion.

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