TUCSON, Ariz. — The FBI says sextortion can happen on any site where people meet up and chat. It can be anything from strangers asking to trade pictures for credits while you’re gaming online, to dating apps and social media.
Brook Brennan with the Tucson division of the FBI says predators are targeting teens and once they get access to those pictures, they use them against the victim.
"Since early March we have been warning that this is something that can happen with everyone working from home and students being online,” Brennan said.
What exactly is sextortion? According to the FBI, it’s when an adult tries to get an under-aged teen to share sexually explicit pictures or perform sex acts on camera. Then they threaten to share the pictures and video to shame the victim -- while persuading them to provide more images to keep the pictures from being exposed to the public. Sometimes the adult can trick the teens into believing that they’re also a teen to gain their trust.
"A predator tries to access or gain access to someone's password or personal information, then they use that to extort them. Once someone has access to a social media account, they have access to all the photos, even ones they think are private,” Brennan said
To safeguard yourself the FBI says you should:
- Be careful of what you share online, private content can be made public if a stranger has access.
- Only share social media passwords with trusted and known adults.
- Block messages from strangers online.
“Beware of links that are sent to you, especially if they are not from the original social media account,” Brennan said.
If you believe this has happened to you dial 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324) or report it to the FBI online.