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FBI Warning Teens And Parents Of Dangers Of Sextortion

The FBI is warning parents, educators, caregivers, and of course children, about the dangers of online activity that may lead to the solicitation and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.  “Sextortion” involves an offender who coerces a minor to create and send sexually explicit images or videos. The offender gets material from the child and then threatens to release that material unless the victim gives more.  These offenders usually do this seeking sexual gratification. 


Financially motivated sextortion is a criminal act that involves an offender who coerces a minor to crate and send sexually explicit material.  Offenders threaten to release that compromising material unless they receive payment, usually in gift cards, mobile payment services, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. These offenders are motivated by financial gain, not just sexual gratification.


Sextortion victims are generally females between 10-17 years old, while financially motivated sextortion victims are typically males between 14-17 years old. With that being said, any child can become a victim.  Offenders in financially motivated sextortion schemes are usually located outside of the US and are primarily in West African countries or Southeast Asian countries.  


These crimes can lead victims to self-harm and have led to suicide.  From October 2021 to March of 2023, the FBI and Homeland Security received over 13,000 reports of online financial sextortion of minors.  There were at least 12,600 victims, primarily boys, and led to at least 20 suicides. 


In six months between October 2022 and March 2023, the FBI observed at least a 20% increase in reporting of financially motivated sextortion incidents involving minor victims compared to the same period the year prior.  FBI Springfield noticed a significant increase in financially motivated sextortion in 2023. 


If you or someone you know believes that they are a victim of sextortion or financially motivated sextortion, immediately report the activity to law enforcement. You can report it to FBI Springfield at 217-522-9675 or by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or visiting tips.fbi.gov. 

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