State, federal agencies issue “sextortion” alerts


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 9, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Department of Public Safety has joined with the FBI in issuing warnings about “sextortion” online.

“On #SaferInternetDay the FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, has issued a warning about financial sextortion,” the DPS posted Tuesday evening on social media. “It reports ‘an explosion’ in incidents of minor boys around the world being coerced into sending explicit images online and extorted for money.”

Learn more about this crime, the DPS said, and how you can help prevent it here:…/international-law-enforcement.

“The FBI and our international law enforcement partners are issuing a joint warning about a global financial sextortion crisis,” the FBI announced Tuesday on social media.

“Our agencies have seen an explosion in incidents of minor boys around the world being coerced into sending explicit images online and extorted for money—a crime called financial sextortion.”

In 2022, the FBI said, it received thousands of reports related to the financial sextortion of minors, primarily boys, representing an exponential increase from previous years.

“Unfortunately, the FBI is also aware of more than a dozen suicides following these incidents. Today, on Safer Internet Day, we are urging children and caregivers to educate themselves about this crime and help us protect others from being victimized.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “Financial sextortion has a far wider impact than just our country and our kids—it is a global crisis that demands everyone’s attention The FBI is working hand-in-hand with our international partners to prevent children from becoming victims of this tragic crime. We all have a duty to support and empower victims to come forward and show them that there is life after images.”

Financial sextortion can happen anywhere, the FBI’s statement said, although it mainly occurs on the digital platforms where children are already spending their screen time, like social media and gaming websites, or video chat applications.

On these platforms, predators often pose as girls of a similar age and use fake accounts to target young boys, deceiving them into sending explicit photos or videos. The predator then threatens to release the compromising materials unless the victim sends payment, however, in many cases, the predator will release the images anyway.

Even though financial sextortion is committed virtually, it can have serious impacts offline. After the threats and aggression, victims may feel alone, ashamed, scared, and these feelings can lead to children resorting to self harm. Law enforcement around the world wants victims to know they are not in trouble, they are not alone, and there is life after pictures.

What to do if you are being financially sextorted:

-Remember, the predator is to blame, not your child or you.

-Report the predator’s account via the platform’s safety feature.

-Block the predator and do not delete the profile or messages because that can be helpful to law enforcement in identifying and stopping them.

-Ask for help from a trusted adult or law enforcement before sending money or more images. Cooperating rarely stops the blackmail and harassment, but law enforcement can.

-Trust that there is life after images.

“If young people are being exploited, they are victims of a crime and should report it,” the FBI said. “We encourage you to contact your local FBI field office, call 1-800-FBI, or report it online at”

Michelle DeLaune, CEO, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:

“We understand how young victims of this crime can feel like there’s no way out, but we want them to know that they’re not alone.

“In the past year, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has received more than 10,000 sextortion-related reports.

“Please talk to your children about what to do if they (or their friends) are targeted online.

“NCMEC has free resources to help them navigate an overwhelming and scary situation.”


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