BALTIMORE — Sextortion cases involving minors are on the rise.
“I tell all parents, please whatever you, do monitor your children,” Sharon Turner of Baltimore said.
Now the FBI is warning parents to make sure their children do not become victims.
Sextortion is a cybercrime where scammers trick someone into send sexually explicit photos and videos .Once they have them, the scammers then threaten the victim saying they will release them if they don’t send money.
Sharon Turner of Baltimore says she’s always diligent with her grandchildren.
“When I was growing up, we didn’t have that foolishness,” Turner said. “We have to be very careful. Not only with girls, but with boys, too.”
The FBI says between October of 2021 and March of last year there have been more than 13,000 reports of sextortion.
The agency also say the victims are usually boys between the ages of 14 and 17.
At least 20 of these cases have led to the child taking their own life.
WJZ spoke with Adam Rosenberg, the Executive Director at the Center for Hope, a child advocacy center run by LifeBridge Health that regularly works with the FBI on cases like this.
He says sextorters are often difficult to track because they’re usually located outside of the US.
He says the key to preventing your child from becoming a victim is by talking with your kids about the dangers of the internet and telling them to think before sending any photos of videos to others.
“We want parents to be able to have conversations with children,” Rosenberg said. “And, children should be able to have a trusted parent they can go to if they find themselves in situation that they’re over their head on”
If your child does become a victim, Rosenberg says to take control of the situation by not sending the scammers any money.
“They’re just in this for the money and so regardless of how much money you give, they’re gonna keep asking for more money and keep threatening on pictures there,” Rosenberg said.
If your child has become a victim of sextortion, the FBI says you should report it to them immediately.
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