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FBI Atlanta warns parents of rise in sextortion cases, more schemes targeting boys

These crimes are considered the production of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) and can carry a life sentence penalty for the offender.

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning Georgia parents and children of the dangers of sextortion across the state. 

In a press release, FBI Atlanta reports that the state has seen an increase in sextortion cases where adults are posing as young girls on social media to produce sexual images and videos, then extorting money from the minor victims.

Specifically, these cases are targeting teenage boys between the ages of 14 and 17. 

The release outlines that in 2021, the division saw a total of 21 known cases of sextortion in the area, however, as of July 2022, that number has more than doubled to 50 cases. 

Of these cases, FBI Atlanta said they are seeing a prevalence in the predator – who poses as a young girl online – using deception and manipulation to engage in explicit activity over the video, which is then secretly recorded by the scammer. 

The predator will then reveal to the victim that they have made the recordings, and attempt to extort the victim for money, threatening the victim to pay or have the explicit photos or videos posted online.

These crimes are considered the production of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) and can carry a life sentence penalty for the offender according to the release. 

To make the victimization stop, the division said children should tell someone, typically a parent, teacher, caregiver, or law enforcement. Although it can be hard FBI Atlanta believes coming forward will help law enforcement identify the offender and may prevent countless other incidents of sexual exploitation of that victim and others.

In the release, FBI Atlanta provides the following list of tips parents should use to protect their children: 

  • Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information and passwords. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you or your children.
  • Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information and passwords. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you or your children.
  • Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
  • Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be.
  • Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.
  • Encourage children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult.

If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of sextortion, FBI Atlanta encourages you to contact local law enforcement or the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov.

Additionally, law enforcement said to not delete anything on your device before officers can view it. 

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