Beware of extortion scam involving disturbing images, warn Halifax police

Halifax Regional Police say scammers claiming to be members of a
Halifax Regional Police say scammers claiming to be members of a

Halifax Regional Police say they've received two reports from locals about a scam involving threats of violence and disturbing images to extort money.

Police say the scammers claim to be members of a "cartel" and that they call and text people with accusations of attempting to use an escort service. Then they demand money.

"They threaten to harm the victim or their loved ones if they do not respond and or deliver the money," said Const. Nicolas Gagnon. "And police believe the scammers are randomly contacting people and that the people targeted not necessarily contacted an escort service."

Some of the images sent, Gagnon said, "depict violence and show human remains." While Gagnon said it's not entirely clear where the scammers are, he said it's possible to receive a call or text that looks like a local number.

Gagnon said the two people who were targeted locally did not lose any money. He said the same sort of scam has been reported elsewhere in Canada over the past two years.

"Understandably, this is a very frightening situation for people ... these types of scams really rely upon fear and intimidation," he said.

Block caller, police advise

Someone who receives a similar call or text should not respond or provide any money or personal information, Gagnon advised. He also said police recommend people block the number and avoid opening unsolicited text messages from unfamiliar numbers.

If anyone has received this text or call and is concerned for safety reasons or have lost money should contact police at 902-490-5020.

Scamming attempts can also be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.