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B.C. RCMP issue warning after threatening blackmail incidents tied to online dating

Police call threatening videos used in the Lower Mainland ‘graphic and alarming’
Image used in blackmail attempt, showing a person with red bandana over their face. (Burnaby RCMP photo)

Burnaby RCMP is warning the public about the dangers of sharing personal information online, following several recent reports of blackmail.

During the last month, officers have investigated at least nine instances involving adults blackmailed for money after sharing personal information via online dating services.

In three reports, the fraudsters sent the victim threatening videos and graphic photos of dead bodies while demanding money.

According to police, the videos show the fraudsters seemingly driving to the victim’s house with AR-15 style rifles, while threatening to kill the victim and their family.

“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 Corp. Alexa Hodgins. “We want the public to be aware of this scam method to prevent victims from sending money out of fear.”

Police encourage people to use caution and avoid sending personal information when online dating.

The recommend protecting yourself from online scams by Googling the person you are chatting with, saying no if you feel uncomfortable, and not sending money or personal information.

Learn more ways to protect yourself from scams and fraud by visiting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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