(ConservativeHub.com) – The FBI issued a warning about increases in reports of a crime called sextortion, where predators pressure children into sending sexually explicit photos, during a briefing with reporters on December 19. The offenders then use these images to threaten the victims and extort money or more images from them.
The FBI explained the targets are primarily boys ages 14 to 17. Still, kids of all ages can become victims. According to The Associated Press, authorities believe the criminals originate mainly from Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, and they find victims anywhere online where they can chat, such as on game platforms and apps.
The FBI sounded the alarm Monday about an explosive increase in teenage boys being targeted online and extorted for money after being tricked into sending sexually explicit pictures. https://t.co/p4pvWfYuBf
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 19, 2022
One of these criminals may pretend to be a girl interested in a relationship and work to build a rapport before asking for sexual images or videos. Eventually, they begin issuing threats to release the content publicly if the child doesn’t pay them. They may ask for cash or gift cards. The goal is typically financial and not focused on the actual images.
What makes these crimes particularly dangerous is that, in many cases, vulnerable victims are too afraid to come forward and ask for help. Authorities say there have even been cases of suicide linked to the schemes, due to teens feeling trapped and seeing no way out.
Due to previous concerns about the increase in this type of crime, especially as children are preparing for winter break and will likely have more time online, the FBI launched the Sextortion Awareness Campaign back in 2019. It teaches parents and kids about the scam and what to do if one of these criminals contacts them.
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