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Sextortion scam targets men and boys in New West

New West police warn about rise in sextortion cases - a crime that can cause fear, shame and financial loss
New Westminster Police are warning about a rise in sextortion cases in New Westminster.

New West police are warning residents about an increase in sextortion cases targeting boys and men.

According to the New Westminster Police Department, the number of sextortion files rose from 12 in 2021 to 29 in 2022.

In an email to the Record, the police department said there has been a total of 10 sexual extortion files between Jan. 1, 2023 and March 31, 2023. Victims ranged in age from 14 to 52 years.

Victims are contacted on social media platforms by someone using a fake account and typically posing as female, said a NWPD press release.

The NWPD reports that fraudsters set their location to be somewhere near the victim and ask the victim to send sexually explicit photos – and then threaten to release the illicit images unless a ransom is paid. Demands for money often come from international organized criminal networks.

“Victims rarely have any idea what to do. They’re in a state of panic and are often dealing with tremendous fear, shame and significant financial loss,” said NWPD spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Leaver. “We believe this is an under-reported crime, and we’re asking anyone who is a victim of sextortion to report it to police.”

A press release from the New West police department said the Canadian Centre for Child Protection reports that 91 per cent of sextortion victims are male and 79 per cent of sextortion incidents occurred on Instagram and Snapchat.

The New Westminster Police Department recommends that victims get help instead of paying money or complying with the fraudsters. Investigators also suggest victims block the fraudster – but don’t delete any messages or their social media profile – and then speak to someone they trust.

Victims can the contact New Westminster Police Department by calling 604-525-5411.