‘Sextortion’ rising nationally, how your children can stay safe

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:23 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are seeing a growing increase in financial “sextortion” globally.

Sextortion primarily targets young males through social media or gaming apps.

Typically, these young men believe they are communicating with a young female and will send sexually explicit photos or videos, that’s when the extortion starts.

Calera Police Chief David Hyche said, “I think we see it everywhere and I think its one of those situations where we only see the tip of the iceberg.”

They are told at that point if they do not send money, then they will release those photos or videos to friends.

“The extortionist has got contact lists from you, has gotten access list through your computer, you’ve clicked on a link, or you have downloaded a file and now they have access to your contact list and they scare these kids to death,” Hyche said. “I saw a statistic the other day from 2022 where there were 3,000 cases looked at by the FBI I imagine that is just a tiny fraction.”

Chief Hyche said he knows for a fact that a lot of kids keep it to themselves and there’s no telling how many teen suicides and overdoses are directly attributable to this crime.

“We don’t want to see kids suffer or hurt themselves over that, you’re not the criminal in this situation,” Hyche said. “There’s a criminal out there that’s targeting and exploiting you and we want to get those people and make them pay for what they are doing.”

Chief Hyche encourages parents and guardians to have talks with their children, and for teens on the internet, make sure you are not friending people you don’t know.

If this ever happens to you, Chief Hyche said never send them money. You can alert your local law enforcement agency, tell your parents and contact the tip line.

Cybertipline.com links you with federal authorities that can help.

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