The FBI has sent out a warning via a press release about them seeing an uptick in the amount of sextortion cases involving children.

They say predators will pose as young people on social media, pretend to be their friend then lure them into sending them sexual videos. What comes next is the predator will then blackmail the child to send them money.

FBI Arkansas and FBI New Orleans officials are saying there has been an increase in the number of these case in Arkansas and North Louisiana.

Here is how FBI officials say these people take advantage of children:

  • A predator (posing as a child on social media) uses deception and manipulation to convince a minor victim, usually 13 to 17 years old, to engage in explicit sexual activity over video chat.

  • The videos or images are secretly recorded and saved by the predator.

  • The predator then reveals they have saved the recordings and attempts to extort money from the juvenile victim by threatening to post the videos on various social media pages.

  • To receive money, the predator may ask for bank account login information or request gift cards.

It's a terrible crime, and victims feel humiliated according to officials. They add that it can be extremely difficult for young victims to come forward, but it's somthing that children should be encouraged to do. There are severe penalties for sextortion crimes, and anything should be to the FBI in New Orleans in 504-816-3000.

As I Parent, What Do You Look For?

The FBI says there are several good reminders for our children:

  • You don't really know who you are talking to online. Chlldren should always proceed with caution when encountering anyone. If your child doesn't know them, they should block them.
  • Predators will pretend to be anyone they need to in order to get what they want from your children, and videos/photos are not true proof of who someone claims to be
  • Remind your child to be wary of anyone who want to chat via a game or app and especially if they want to chat on another platform.
  • Always let your children know they can tell a trusted adult about anything suspcious or makes them feel uncomfortable.

The FBI also wants to remind anyone who has had something like this happen to never delete any of the information as it will be crucial to the prosecution of the crime.