Mounties are warning the public to be cautious about who they interact with online after investigating two dozen "sextortion" reports in a span of just three months.

Sextortion refers to incidents where a person threatens to release intimate videos, photos or messages online if their subject doesn't make a payment. The victim is often asked to pay through Bitcoin or money transfer to prevent the content from being made public.

"It is essentially blackmail," the Burnaby RCMP said in a statement Wednesday.

Mounties in the Vancouver suburb have investigated 24 incidents alleged to have occurred since may, and victims have transferred funds in some cases.

The RCMP provided two examples of how sextortion is taking place locally.

In the first scenario, a victim receives a friend request on social media. The suspect will start talking online, then ask to move to video chat.

The suspect then asks the victim to do some kind of sexual activity while on camera, often including nudity and masturbation.

Then, the suspect ends the chat and tells the victim they've recorded their actions. They tell the victim they will release the video online to their social media followers if they don't make a payment.

The second scenario involves unsolicited emails. A suspect will claim they have pornographic video of the victim, and that they will send it to everyone in the victim's contact list if they don't make a payment.

They may also threaten to expose the victim's use of pornographic websites. In some cases, the suspect has accessed an old password the victim used either for email or other websites.

Police are advising internet users that they be cautious of who they're interacting with online, and be mindful that their actions could be recorded.

Those who use social media sites should be wary of people they don't know in person, and should not comply with any threats made.

Instead, the RCMP says those being targeted should stop all forms of communication with that person, save their correspondence and report it to police immediately.