Cornwall, ON – The Cornwall Police Service (CPS) is reminding to residents to be safe online after experiencing an increase in calls relating to online extortion.
In many of these incidents, the suspect claims to have recorded the victim in a compromising situation or explicit act and asks to be paid with money, cryptocurrency, gift cards, etc. The suspect further indicates that if payment is not made by the victim, that a recording of the compromising situation will be sent to the victim’s contact list or made public.
Many people fall victim to this scam, even if they have not put themselves in the compromised situation that the suspect has threatened to publish.
Here are some things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of online extortion:
· Never send compromising images or videos of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are, who they say they are, or how well you think you know them.
· Do not open email attachments or links from people you do not know, and use caution when opening email attachments or links even from those you do know.
· Turn off and/or cover any web cameras when you are not using them.
· Know the risks when engaging in online activities.
Always remember to slow down and not be pressured into making a decision. Talk to a family member or loved one to confirm the situation and analyze reasonable steps to take.
If you have been a victim of online extortion, where you have sent personal information or funds to an unknown party, please report the incident to police by calling 613-932-2110 ext. 3
If you have not provided personal information or funds, but have received an email or message resembling online extortion, please report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501.
The CPS Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit continues to attend local high schools to educate students on cell phone responsibility and internet safety. If you would like more information about online scams, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.