New scam uses threatening videos to target users of escort services, B.C. police say

Click to play video: 'Online extortion takes a violent turn'
Online extortion takes a violent turn
Burnaby RCMP are warning about online extortion scams where the victims were actually threatened with death. Kamil Karamali reports – Jul 13, 2022

A horror-movie-like extort scheme has come to light in Burnaby, B.C.

“Three reports involved the fraudsters sending videos that appear to show them driving to the victim’s residence with AR-15 style rifles, while threatening to kill the victim and their family after the victim shared their home addresses online,” RCMP Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said in a news release.

“The fraudsters follow up by sending the victims graphic photographs of dead bodies while continuing to demand money.”

Police have released these two images of the fraudsters. Burnaby RCMP

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Officers have investigated more than nine reports of this type of extortion, stemming from “online romance scams” and victims sharing personal information online.

“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,” Hodgins said.

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

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The RCMP is offering the public a few tips to protect against romance scams:

  • Google the other person – Do a reverse image search. This is a quick and easy way to see if their photo has been copied from the internet.
  • Do not send money – If someone you met online is asking you for money, it’s a red flag.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no – Don’t be intimidated by high-pressure communications from someone online. If you don’t feel comfortable, say no.
  • Don’t give out personal information

Any additional victims, or anyone with more information, is being asked to contact Burnaby RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

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Rising scams against seniors

Editor’s note: The headline of this story has been corrected to reflect that the fraudsters are sending videos that appear to show them driving to victims’ homes. They are not filming themselves actually at the homes, according to police.


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