(WXYZ) — The FBI Detroit Field Office has issued a warning about an increasing number of sextortion schemes involving young boys.
According to the FBI Detroit, they are receiving reports of adults posing as young girls and coercing young boys through social media to send sexual images and videos. Then, the person threatens them with exposure unless they pay.
“The most effective way to stop these criminals is by preventing young people from becoming victims. We can do that through awareness, education, and having important — and sometimes difficult — conversations with the young people in our lives,” said Special Agent James A. Tarasca of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “We recognize victims may be hesitant to come forward and report these incidents. If you are a victim and don’t feel comfortable reporting directly to law enforcement, we encourage you to reach out to a trusted adult, who can help you."
The FBI has these tips to protect you and children online:
- 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 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 your children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult.
If you believe you or someone you know is a victim of sextortion:
- Call the FBI’s Detroit Field Office at 313-965-2323 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. You can also file a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-THELOST or cybertipline.org).
- Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it.
- Tell law enforcement everything about the encounters you had online; it may be embarrassing, but it is necessary to find the offender.