FBI Dallas Warns of Increase in ‘Sextortion' Schemes Targeting Teens

Officials say if convicted, online offenders would face life in prison

fbi dallas
NBC 5 News

After receiving an increasing number of nationwide incidents involving online sextortion, the FBI Dallas Field office says it's warning parents about keeping their teens safe on the internet.

According to FBI officials, sextortion is a punishable crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don't provide images, sexual favors, or money.

The FBI said more recently, adult offenders will pose as a young girl making initial contact through an online platform like a game or through social media and then ask to switch to a video platform.

According to investigators, the predator convinces the young male, usually 14- to 17-years-old, to engage in explicit activity over video.

During this interaction, the predator secretly records the video, then reveals they have recorded the act, and attempts to extort the victim for money to prevent the content from being shared, officials said.

"Sextortion is a crime," the FBI said in a statement. "It is illegal for an adult to ask for, pay for or demand graphic images, also known as Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), from a minor. If convicted, offenders face penalties up to life in prison."

In 2021, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received over 18,000 sextortion-related complaints, with loss totals topping $13.6 million.

For more information, visit the FBI.gov website.

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