Burnaby RCMP is warning the public about the dangers of sharing personal information online, following a number of recent extortion reports.

In the last month, officers have investigated at least nine reports involving adults sharing personal information such as phone numbers and home addresses through personal dating services who were then blackmailed for money. Three of these reports involved the fraudsters sending videos that appear to show them driving to the victim’s residence with AR-15 style rifles while threatening to kill the victim and their family after the victim shared their home addresses online. The fraudsters follow up by sending the victims graphic photographs of dead bodies while continuing to demand money.

Image used in blackmail attempt showing a person in a grey ski mask

Image used in blackmail attempt showing a person with red bandana over their face

We have seen romance scams before, but this one is unique due to the graphic and alarming videos and pictures that are sent to the victims as a scare tactic, said Corporal Alexa Hodgins of the Burnaby RCMP We want the public to be aware of this scam method to prevent victims from sending money out of fear.

More people than ever are going online to find friendship and relationships. If you seek companionship online, learn how to protect yourself from scams and fraud by visiting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Here are a few tips that may help protect you:

1. Google them

  • Do a reverse image search. This is a quick and easy way to see if their photo has been copied from the internet.

2. Do not sent money

  • If someone you met online is asking you for money, it’s a red flag. Do not send them money.

3. Don’t be afraid to say no.

  • Don’t be intimidated by high-pressure communications from someone online. If you don’t feel comfortable, say no.

4. Don’t give out personal information.

Beware of unsolicited calls where the caller asks you for personal information, such as:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your birthdate
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Your credit card or banking information

Keep in mind that you may not truly know who you are talking to.

Burnaby RCMP encourage all victims of fraud to come forward and report these incidents to the police of jurisdiction.

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