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Northern Ont. police say violent text extortion scheme circulating

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A new extortion scheme circulating in northern Ontario involves violent texts including threatening messages containing images of dead bodies and body parts, police say.

Wikwemikong Tribal Police received a complaint Jan. 15 around 2:45 p.m. about disturbing threats received through text message, Ontario Provincial Police said in a news release Friday morning.

The OPP Manitoulin crime unit has joined the ongoing investigation and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre issued an alert about the scam.

"The message threatens that if payment is not sent, you and your family may be targeted and harmed," OPP said.

"Like other extortion scams, fraudsters are attempting to scare victims into sending funds."

Here are some police tips to protect yourself from fraud:

  • Report violent messages immediately to police
  • Do not reply to threatening messages or send money under pressure
  • Be wary of any unsolicited messages, including those that are threatening or accusing you of owing money for a service you never had or planned to have.
  • Remember that fraudsters use high-pressure intimidation tactics to try to steal your money

"If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or your nearest police authority and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online," OPP said.

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