☷FBI Dallas Warns of Increase in Sextortion Schemes Targeting 14 to 17 Year Old Teens
Federal Bureau of Investigation ( By Press Release office)
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DALLAS—The FBI Dallas Field Office is warning parents and caregivers about a rise in nationwide incidents involving the sextortion of teenagers over the Internet . The FBI is receiving an increasing number of reports of adults on social media and online gaming systems , posing as adolescents , who coerce children to produce sexual images and videos , and then extort money from them . In a scheme that has recently become more prevalent , the adult offender poses as a young female and makes initial contact through an online platform ( e . g . , social media accounts , games , or apps ) and then asks to switch to a video platform . The predator convinces the young male , usually 14 to 17 years old , to engage in explicit activity over video . The predator secretly records the video , then reveals they have recorded the act and attempts to extort the victim for money to prevent the content from being posted online and/or sent to friends and family . Sextortion is a crime . It is illegal for an adult to ask for , pay for or demand graphic images , also known as Child Sexual Abuse Material ( CSAM ) , from a minor . If convicted , offenders face penalties up to life in prisonIn 2021 , the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center ( IC3 ) received over 18 , 000 sextortion - related complaints , with loss totals topping $13 . 6 million . This number reflects all types of sextortion reported , not just this particular scheme . To stop the victimization , children typically have to report it . The FBI believes cases may be underreported because of embarrassment , fear of the repercussions threatened by the criminal and/or the anticipated adverse response from their parents , guardians , or law enforcement . Sextortion offenders may have hundreds of victims around the world , and reporting the crime to law enforcement may prevent countless others from being victimized . “These predators hide behind lies , manipulation , and anonymity to interact with our children . They could be disguised as a peer using a fake identity on a young person’s social media or gaming sites , or through the devices they use for gaming , homework , and communicating with friends , ” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Mathew J . DeSarno , “The FBI uses every tool possible to catch these dangerous individuals , but we need responsible adults to help us by reporting suspicious online behavior and to educate children and teens about safe online media usage . ”The FBI provides the following tips to protect children and teens online:Be selective about what you share online , especially your personal information and passwords . If your social media accounts are open to everyone , a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you or your children . Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online . Block or ignore messages from strangers . Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online . Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be . Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform . Encourage children and teens to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult . If you believe you or someone you know is the victim of sextortion:Contact your local FBI field office , the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center ( IC3 ) at www . ic3 . gov or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ( 1 - 800 - the - lost or Cybertipline . org ) . Don’t delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it . Tell law enforcement everything about the encounters you had online; it may be uncomfortable , but it is necessary to find the offender . More information and multimedia resources about sextortion can be found at: https://www . fbi . gov/news/stories/stop - sextortion - youth - face - risk - online - 090319 and https://www . fbi . gov/sextortionThe FBI’s partner at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has step - by - step instructions on how to remove explicit content from more than a dozen online platforms: https://www . missingkids . org/gethelpnow/isyourexplicitcontentoutthere utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=National+Child+Abuse+Prevention+Month&utm_term=&utm_content=
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