Graphic, violent photos and threats sent to victims in new scam: Calgary police

Calgary police are warning citizens about an extortion scam that sees victims sent graphic and violent photos to intimidate them into handing over their hard-earned money.

Police say the con – which is a new twist on a well known mass-marketing extortions scam – has resulted in 22 reports from Calgarians within the last six weeks.

Typically, victims receive a text message from an international number claiming they owe between $500 to $8,000 for using personal services.

If the victim refuses to pay up, the scammer will then send them the graphic photos in an effort to intimidate them – along with threats that they or their family will be harmed.

“Mass-marketing fraud is a crime that uses low or no-cost mass-marketing tools with a goal of defrauding the victims with a promise, story or threat,” said Staff Sgt. Geoff Gawlinski in a Tuesday release.

“As technology advances, so do the tactics of fraudsters, as they are able to cast a wide net to reach people around the world in hopes of capitalizing on the fear and emotions of potential victims.”

Calgary police say so far, three of the victims who have come forward have lost a combine today of $4,000.

In most cases reported to the Calgary Police Service, the fraudster uses the name “Edgar Ortega Valdez” along with the phone number 562-579-8694.

If you or anyone you know has suffered a financial loss as a result of fraud, you can report it by calling the Calgary Police Service’s non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.

Tips can also be left anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

If you have received a fraudulent text message, email or phone call but have not sustained a financial loss, you are still asked to report it to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre.

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