‘It’s part of an organized ring’: RCMP encouraging people caught in a sextortion scam to come forward

RCMP warn of ‘sextortion’ scam attempts in Halifax
WATCH ABOVE: RCMP are warning the public of "sextortion" cases around the Halifax region. Natasha Pace reports.

The man in charge of the Technological Crime Unit for the Nova Scotia RCMP is speaking out and trying to raise awareness about a “sextortion scam” that currently making its way around our region.

“If you’re doing stuff online with somebody you don’t personally know, you have got to expect it’s being recorded,” said Staff Sgt. Royce MacRae.

READ: Halifax RCMP respond to 6 cases of ‘sextortion’ so far this year

Here’s how the scam works: a perpetrator gains a victim’s trust after talking to them online and a sex act is performed.

The victim in the case doesn’t know it at the time, but the suspect secretly records the video and threatens to release it unless they are given a certain amount of money.

“Basically, you think you’re with somebody that’s a friend of yours online,” MacRae told Global News.

Story continues below advertisement

“You’ve been talking to this person for maybe the last couple months and it progresses from one step to the next in this online relationship and a sexual act happens online between the two people and all of a sudden you’re told this was recorded and if you do not provide x amount of dollars, it will be released to your employer, to your family to your friends.”

WATCH: How to talk to kids about sextortion

How to talk to kids about sextortion
How to talk to kids about sextortion

The scam isn’t exactly new – but six cases have recently been reported to the RCMP, which MacRae says is unusual.

“These ones have actually been women targeting men which is not the norm and these guys are experts, they know how to manipulate people,” he said.

It’s believed one person sent money after it was demanded of them. Anyone who is caught up in the scam is encouraged to contact police.

Story continues below advertisement

“What often happens is they’ll look for money from you originally, if you decide to pay off then maybe they’ll come back to you in a few weeks and say I appreciate that but now we need more money or we’ll go to your employer, your family, your friends list.”

READ MORE: ‘Sextortion scam’ reported in Elgin County

All six recent cases happened in Halifax but police say there are likely victims in other parts of the Maritimes.

“These people are masters at this. They manipulate people on a regular basis. They’re not doing just the one person. It’s not uncommon for these people to have 100 of these or more to be going on at one time, working people, trying to get money out of them,” said MacRae.

“While it might seem embarrassing, it’s part of an organized ring and if you don’t report it maybe these people are going to take advantage of other people.”