RCMP warn of webcam scams
Computer webcams are a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, but they can also be dangerous.
The RCMP’S Technological Crime Unit is advising the public to be aware of the risks associated with using the devices online.
In particular, police advise to be wary of online services that allow people to engage in webcam sessions with complete strangers from anywhere in the world.
There have been a few instances in Newfoundland and Labrador where a person has engaged in what appeared to be a one-on-one intimate session with someone they didn’t know and soon found out that the other person was not who they observed on the webcam.
Instead, the other person was streaming video to give the impression that it was coming from the webcam. In the process, they capture the other person’s intimate actions and then threaten to disclose that video to Facebook friends or publish it online if the person doesn’t pay a sum of money or engage in further intimate acts on camera.
Sgt. Jacques Boucher suggested anything done online, even if you think it is a private session, could be captured by the other party and then used for extortion.
“Some of these online criminals can project a very believable identity (supported by a Facebook page, personal email account, Instant Messaging account, even provide a phone number) and appear trust worthy.
“Even in cases where the other person is known there is a risk that embarrassing/intimate/private actions or words could be captured by the other party and disclosed at a later time.”
The RCMP Technological Crime Unit urges anyone who becomes a victim of extortion (whether for money or to direct them to do something) should contact the police immediately and keep these tips in mind:
- Conduct yourself online in a manner that will not put you at risk of being extorted.
- Strictly monitor your children if they have a webcam on their computer.
- Do not delete anything on the computer as it may contain evidence required by police to pursue their investigation.