ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The FBI Atlanta Division is sending out a warning to parents, caregivers, and teenagers about the increase in sextortion crimes across the country especially in the state of Georgia.
According to the FBI, there is an increasing number of reports of adults posing as young girls coercing teenage boys through social media to produce sexual images and videos, and then, they are extorting money from these minor victims.
According to FBI Atlanta, there have been 21 reports received of sextortion victims in Georgia in 2021, and in 2022, there have been 50 reports so far.
Authorities explain that sextortion starts with the adult posing as a young girl contacting a minor over an online platform (i.e., game, app, or social media) to meet and communicate, and then said adult uses deception and manipulation to convince the young male, who is usually 14 to 17 years old, to engage in explicit activity over video, which is being secretly recorded.
Authorities continue by saying then the extortionist reveals that they have made recordings and attempts to extort the minor for money by threatening him to pay or have the explicit photos and videos posted online.
In 2021, the FBI say they have received more than 18,000 sextortion-related complaints, with losses of more than $13.6 million.
Authorities say that this is considered Child Sexual Abuse Material, and this carries heavy penalties including a life sentence in prison for the offender.
The FBI is providing tips on how to protect you and your children while online:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
4. 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.
5. Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.
6. Encourage children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult.
If you believe you or someone you know is the victim of sextortion:
1. Contact local law enforcement or the FBI or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
2. Do not delete anything on your device before law enforcement is able to review it.
3. Tell law enforcement everything about the encounters you had online; it may be embarrassing, but it is necessary to find the offender and can protect other children.