'Sextortion' scam targeting York region men: police
A York Regional Police car is seen in this undated photo.
Published Tuesday, January 26, 2016 12:27PM EST
Police are warning York Region residents of an online extortion scam targeting men.
Several men have reported falling victim to the alleged scam, York Regional Police said in a statement on Tuesday.
In each case, citizens say they have been contacted on social media by unknown suspects posing as women, who encourage the men to remove their clothing and "perform a sex act" while in front of a computer. The acts are then recorded by webcam without the victims' knowledge or consent, police said.
Officers said the suspects then tell the victims that the videos will be released on social media and emailed to family and friends if the victims do not send them money by wire transfer.
Police believe that the instances are part of a worldwide extortion scam, and that there are likely more victims who have yet to come forward.
The victims have no connection to each other, police said.
"Sometimes called sextortion, these online extortion scams are often under-reported due to a level of embarrassment on the part of the victims," officers said in the statement.
Police warned the public to be wary of messages from strangers, and to never click any links in such messages.
"Remember, not everyone is who they say they are on the Internet. Cover your webcam - or any other camera connected to the Internet - when you're not using it," police said.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with more information is asked to contact police at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 2664, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).