Portland FBI Offers Virtual Discussion on Feb. 21
(Spanish) The FBI has seen a huge increase in the number of cases involving children and teens being threatened and coerced into sending explicit images online—a crime called sextortion. A related version of this crime is financial sextortion, which involves the offender threatening to release the compromising material unless the victim sends money and/or gift cards.
Sextortion can start on any site, app, messaging platform or game where people meet and communicate. In some cases, the first contact from the criminal will be a threat. The person may claim to already have a revealing picture or video of a child that will be shared if the victim does not send more pictures. More often, however, this crime starts when young people believe they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship or with someone who is offering something of value.
After the criminals have one or more videos or pictures, they threaten to publish that content, or they threaten violence, to get the victim to produce more images. The shame, fear and confusion children feel when they are caught in this cycle often prevents them from asking for help or reporting the abuse. Caregivers and young people should understand how the crime occurs and openly discuss online safety.
The Portland FBI Division is hosting a virtual discussion for families, caregivers, teens and young adults to learn about the risks, warning signs and how to stay safe online and report if you or someone you know is a victim.
The hour-long meeting is Wednesday, Feb., 21 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Email Outreach.PD@fbi.gov by February 20 to receive a meeting link.