FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John RCMP are warning the community about the dangers of social media after several reports of individuals being extorted for money.

The detachment says the incident usually starts after accepting a new friend request, usually a shared friend with someone they already know.

Once the friend request is received, the individual receives a link for some type of video chat, which leads to some type of sexual act occurring while on the video chat, said an RCMP release.

Shortly after, the individual receives a message or email saying that the video has been recorded and that the video will be released to family and friends unless a certain amount of money is paid.

“As anonymous as social media may seem, certain activities can come with some terrible consequences,” said Constable Chad Neustaeter, Media Relations Officer for the Fort St John RCMP detachment.

“Individuals need to take steps to protect themselves because there are always those looking to take advantage of others.”

Steps to keep yourself safe online:

Police advise extortion victims not to forward any money after these requests and file a report with the police.

Mounties say if banking information is shared, contact the bank, flag accounts and check in with both credit bureaus, either Equifax or TransUnion.