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'Sextortion' dating scams on the rise in York Region: police

York Regional Police believe there are additional victims, as the scams are often under-reported due to feelings of embarrassment
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Investigators with the York Regional Police Criminal Investigation Bureaus are warning citizens about sexual extortion scams following online dating interactions.

York Regional Police has received multiple reports from citizens across the region who have been contacted by, or matched with, people on dating apps or social media platforms who then attempt to extort them for money.

These suspects begin conversations with potential victims that soon progress into those of a sexual nature. The suspects encourage the victims to send photos or participate in video calls with their clothing removed or as they perform sexual acts on themselves, which are then recorded without their knowledge or consent.

The suspects then tell the victims that if they don’t receive money by wire transfer, the video and images will be released on social media and emailed to family and friends.

In some cases, suspects are using fake photos to pose as someone else, but in other cases, the suspects are using their own images and will participate in the video calls, making the victim less likely to recognize the scam.

Investigators believe there are likely additional victims who have not yet come forward. Sometimes called ‘sextortion’, these online extortion scams are often under-reported due to feelings of embarrassment on the part of the victims.

York Regional Police is reminding citizens to watch out for messages from strangers via email or social networking sites and never click on any links in such messages. Remember, not everyone is who they say they are on the Internet or dating apps. If you do not know a person well enough to trust them with sensitive material, do not share it with them.

Be cautious when online. If a situation feels suspicious, trust your instincts. Do not be talked into providing photos, video, personal information or payments by methods with which you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable.

If you have been a victim of this scam and would like to report it to police, please contact at 1-866-876-5423, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips, or leave an anonymous tip online at