York Regional Police say they are investigating after a number of males were reportedly coaxed into performing sex acts on camera and later extorted by people posing as women on social media.

Police say the male victims were contacted online by unknown suspects who posed as women on social media. The suspects, investigators say, would encourage the male victims to remove their clothes and perform a sex act, which was secretly recorded.

The victims were then told that the video would be released on social media and emailed to friends and family if they did not send the suspect money by wire transfer, police say.

“Investigators believed this is part of a worldwide extortion scam. The male victims in these cases appear to have no connection with each other,” York Regional Police said in a news release issued Tuesday.

“Sometimes called sextortion, these online extortion scams are often under-reported due to a level of embarrassment on the part of the victims.”

Police advise members of the public to beware of messages they receive from strangers via email or social networking sites and ask that people never to click on any links contained in those messages.

Anyone with information about this online scam is asked to call police at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 2664.