Since the beginning of June, Grande Prairie RCMP have received multiple reports of escort services frauds. The victims have reported that after making initial contact online, they start to receive threatening text messages demanding more money or gift cards.
The threats range from threatening to send out intimate images of the victim to threats of harm. Sgt. Shawn Graham says people need to be wary of getting involved in criminal activities online. He likens these offenses to instances of ‘sextortion’ and adds these types of scams aren’t going away any time soon.
Graham adds online activity can come back to haunt people, particularly when they get involved with a criminal element. “No matter what the activity it, it is about awareness and being safe when engaging with someone you don’t know online.”
The Canadian Anti Fraud center has some tips to protect yourself online:
Unless you know the person offline, there is no way to confirm who is on the other end
Trust your instincts, be skeptical and cautious
Never send money to someone you have not met
If you are being threatened, immediately stop all communication, and do not comply with the threat. In other words, never pay money and never send any additional images. The situation will NOT get better by doing either of these things.
Report the incident to your local police
With files from Lee Griffi