On Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning to the public about recent incidents in Arizona involving sextortion.
The agency says it is seeing cases that involve an adult coercing teenagers through social media into producing sexual images and videos online.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sextortion can start on any site where people meet and communicate. Through deception, manipulation, money and gifts, or threats, the predator convinces the young person to produce an explicit video or image. When the young person starts to resist requests to make more images, the criminal will use threats of harm or exposure of the early images to pressure the child to continue producing content.
The FBI offers tips to help protect you 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.
- 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 one game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.
- Be willing to ask for help. If you are getting messages or requests that don’t seem right, block the sender and report the behavior.
The FBI is encouraging those people who believe they know someone who has been a victim of sextortion, to contact the FBI Phoenix Field office at (623)466-1999 or report the crime online at tips.fbi.gov