“Sextortion” isn’t a new concept, but it’s introduction into the online world is new, but expected in our current world. According to the FBI, they are seeing an increase in “sextortion” scams targeting teens and children. (https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/sextortion) This year a 17 year promising young man became caught in an extortion scam which ended in tragedy. The young man was contacted by an individual pretending to be a young teenage girl, believing this they both exchanged pictures, some of which were explicit in nature. After this is when the extortion began, he was contacted requesting thousands of dollars under the threat that his photos would be posted online, sent for friends and family. He sent some of the money, but could not come up with the rest, the pressure caused this young man to commit suicide. That being said, here are a few things to remember and understand in case your ever approached:
1. Never exchange explicit photos with strangers, even if they also send photos, there is no way for you to verify that the individual sending the photos is actually in the photo.
2. Most threats are empty threats and they usually move on to attempt to target the next victim without posting or sending photos to others, this is because doing so would take more time for the scammer and expose them more.
3. Ignore e-mails or messages from those whom you do not know, this again will cause the scammer to move on to a new target.
4. If you’re a teenager, let your parents and authorities know what you are going through, the chances are they can help.
5. Be careful online concerning the information that you share, on Facebook, make you friends list private, avoid being overly open on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and stay as anonymous as possible on discord servers. (next article will give advice on protecting yourself from “discord creepers”.
6. Suicide is never the answer, speak to someone about what you’re going through, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline if possible 1-800-273-8255
Article by Jaylan Spivey IT Helpdesk @SecNetX