FBI Knoxville warns parents of sextortion schemes targeting children

Officials with the Knoxville division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are warning parents about a new scheme that’s trying to extort young boys.
FBI Knoxville Field Office is warning parents of a sextortion scheme.
Published: Jul. 2, 2022 at 11:55 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Agents with Knoxville’s Federal Bureau of Investigation reported seeing an increase in sextortion schemes that are targeting young boys.

Agents saw an increase in adults posing as young girls and asking boys to send them sexual pictures or videos through social media and then extorting them for money, according to FBI officials.

“Sextortion can have a devastating impact on victims, and it can happen to anyone,” Special Agent in Charge Joe Carrico said. “While in the safety of their own home victims are being targeted by sexual predators on the very devices they use for homework, gaming, or simply communicating with friends.”

The following tips were provided to protect children at home:

1. Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information and passwords. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you.

2. Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.

3. Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be.

4. Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.

5. Be willing to ask for help. If you are getting messages or requests that don’t seem right, block the sender and report the behavior.

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