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Ontario police warn public of online sextortion scams circulating

An Ontario Provincial Police crest is displayed on the arm of an officer during a press conference in Vaughan, Ont., on Thursday, June 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj An Ontario Provincial Police crest is displayed on the arm of an officer during a press conference in Vaughan, Ont., on Thursday, June 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj
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The Ontario Provincial Police are warning the public of sextortion scams circulating online in the eastern region and throughout the province.

The OPP say recent reports show scammers contacting victims through social media or on dating sites, threatening to share intimate photos of them to family, friends and others unless the person pays them.

They say the scammer will often request the funds be sent through money transfer, cryptocurrencies or gift cards.

Police say there are many ways people can protect themselves, including by staying aware of people who try to contact them online and never sending money to unknown people.

They also advise against sending "compromising" photos to anyone, covering computer cameras when they're not in use and not storing sensitive images or information online or on cellphones.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre data shows extortion frauds represented over $16.4 million in reported losses in 2020 and $17 million in 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2022.

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