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The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning on Twitter regarding sextortion campaigns used by scammers to target young people from all over the United States. "The internet connects you with the world. Do you know who in the world is connecting with you? Sending one explicit image can start a scary cycle," says the FBI in a tweet shared on July 3. The agency also added to their alert the fact that sextortion scams usually rely on photos sent by potential victims to people they don't know in real life. In a story published on FBI's official website at the end of May, the agency states that it is currently "seeing a significant increase in activity involving sextortion—a federal crime that happens when an adult coerces a child to produce sexually explicit photographs or video of themselves and then send it to them over the Internet." The scammers who operate sextortion campaigns that impact kids usually make use of a variety of channels to contact their young targets from social media and gaming platforms to video and dating chat apps. FBI Special Agent Brian Herrick stated that "the FBI is seeing an increasing number of cases start on connected gaming systems, where the competition is intense and the offer of game credits or codes is enough to convince a child to create an explicit image." Extortionists also employ several methods to coerce the kids to send them explicit content in the form of images or videos, from flattery and attention to involving romantic interest in their online relationship, and even offering money and various other valuable items, with threats also being involved in many cases if no other measures are successful. "The second the criminal gets a picture, that child’s life is going to be turned upside down," said Special Agent Ryan Barrett, who worked on the Finkbiner’s sextortion case from April 2012."These people are relentless. They don’t care." Get better informed by visiting OUR FORUM.

 

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