Law enforcement warns parents about increase in reported sextortion cases of teens

According to authorities, sextortion most often occurs on Snapchat and Instagram, but can also...
According to authorities, sextortion most often occurs on Snapchat and Instagram, but can also happen on children’s games like Roblox or Minecraft.(Source: Intel Free Press / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 6:39 AM PDT
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CIBOLO, Texas (KWTX/Gray News) – A police department in Texas is warning parents about cases of sextortion targeting teens and young adults.

The Cibolo Police Department said in a post on Facebook it has seen an increase in reported cases where people are being threatened, coerced or blackmailed into sending money or explicit images online through social media or games.

According to authorities, sextortion most often occurs on Snapchat and Instagram, but can also happen on children’s games like Roblox or Minecraft.

“The victim often believes they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship. The victim is asked to send a revealing or nude photo of themselves oftentimes after first receiving a revealing or nude photo from the suspect,” the police said.

After the person has one or more pictures of the target, they will threaten or blackmail them saying they will put the explicit images on the social media site if they don’t send money.

Cibolo PD and the FBI recommend that all parents with children who have access to online content talk to their kids about the potential dangers of the internet.

The FBI recommends the following:

1. Be selective about what you share online. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you.

2. Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.

3. Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that people are who they claim to be. Images can be altered or stolen. In some cases, predators have even taken over the social media accounts of their victims.

4. Be suspicious if you meet someone on one game or app and this person asks you to start talking on a different platform.

5. Be in the know. Any content you create online—whether it is a text message, photo, or video—can be made public. And nothing actually “disappears” online. Once you send something, you don’t have any control over where it goes next.

6. Be willing to ask for help. If you are getting messages or requests online that don’t seem right, block the sender, report the behavior to the site administrator or go to an adult. If you have been victimized online, tell someone.