GEORGIA (WJBF) – According to the Atlanta Federal Bureau of Investigation, the number of reported sextortion victims is up to 114 in Georgia in 2022.

According to authorities, law enforcement has received over 7,000 reports related to the online financial sextortion of minors over the past year.

Law enforcement states that these reports have resulted in at least 3,000 victims, which were primarily boys, and more than a dozen suicides.

Authorities say that a large percentage of these sextortion schemes originate outside of the United States, and primarily in West African countries such as Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

According to the FBI, financial sextortion schemes occur in online environments where young people feel most comfortable, which commonly occurs on social media sites, gaming sites, or video chat applications that feel familiar and safe.

Authorities say online predators on these platforms often use fake female accounts and target minor males, between 14 to 17 years old but the FBI states that they have interviewed victims as young as 10 years old.