PORTLAND, Ore. – The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning Oregonians about extortion schemes targeting teenage boys.
The FBI said sextortion can start when an adult contacts a minor through an online platform such as a game, app, or social media account.
The predators, often posing as young girls, use lies and manipulation to convince teenage boys to engage in explicit activity online. They then use that information to scam the children.
“It is hard to imagine anyone doing this to children. Literally exploiting their innocence for money. The fraudsters earn their trust, then demand money to keep explicit photos a secret. This is a true example of how dire and disgusting criminals can be. Talk to your children now, tell them if someone they’ve met online ask for videos or photos, then money, immediately tell a parent or trusted adult and law enforcement to stop further victimization,” said FBI Portland Special Agent in Charge Kieran L. Ramsey.
The FBI provides the following tips to protect you and your children 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 your children 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 (contact information can be found at www.fbi.gov), 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).
- Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it.
- Tell law enforcement everything about the encounters you had online; it may be embarrassing, but it is necessary to find the offender.