FBI Says Financial Sextortion Is A Crime
Our FBI Charlotte Field Office just sent a press release sharing that they’ve seen an increase in financial sextortion crimes. There are many ways these types of schemes are being used against victims. This isn’t just North Carolina seeing the increase, cities across the country are dealing with reports of financial sextortion cases. Let’s talk about victims in North Carolina, from 2022 to 2023. There was a 20% increase in reports statewide, and by the time you read this, the numbers have probably grown. Remember the old trick scammers would use to get compromising photos, well that scam has taken a turn for the worst.
They’re creating fake social media accounts!
Shelly Lynch our Public Affairs Specialist at the Charlotte Field office sent suggestions if this happens to you. Call your local law enforcement or the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov, Don’t delete anything on your device before law enforcement reviews it. If sexually explicit images were shared online, visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Take it Down website.
Financial sextortion happens when criminals create fake accounts on social media and coerce victims into sending explicit photos or videos. The next step is to threaten the victim to pay or have the images shared online with their family and friends. The scammers might pose as young girls and target teenage boys, and vice versa. But, adults fall victim too. And yes, criminals sometimes use artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate photos from your social media account into sexually themed images, then share them on social media, public forums, or pornographic websites. Just because you pay doesn’t mean that they won’t go through with the humiliation process, because they’ll keep asking for more money.
If you are a parent, educator, or caregiver of children please keep your eyes open to the dangers of online activity that may end up jeopardizing the safety of children. The age of victims varies but males are between the ages of 14 to 17, but of course, any child can become a victim. For financially motivated sextortion, offenders are usually located outside the United States. Lastly, the FBI says that from October 2021 to March 2023, Homeland Security Investigations received over 13,000 reports of this type of online financial sextortion of minors.