Sextortion scams: FBI warns of schemes targeting teenage boys in effort to extort money

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Authorities are warning of an increased risk of "sextortion" schemes.

The FBI Chicago Field Office says these types of schemes are targeting teenage boys in our area.

Scammers are posing as young girls and reaching out to boys through social media. Then, the scammers ask the boys to produce sexual images and videos.

After the scammers have those images, they threaten to share them and they try to extort money from the boys and their families.

RELATED: Teen boy's death hours after scam is part of troubling increase in 'sextortion' cases, FBI says

Consumer Investigator Jason Knowles uncovered sextortion cases in September of 2019 and spoke to the FBI about the recent alert.

"Do not send a picture, or a video or a live stream that you wouldn't want your grandparents, your parents or your friends to see," said Wesley Tagtmeyer, an Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI.

Tagtmeyer also said to never pay the extortion money.

"Well, because the victimization can continue," he said. "You know, not only do they continue with the threats, but as soon as you pay them, you know, X amount of dollars, they're going to ask for more and more."

The FBI says in 2021 there were more than 18,000 sextortion-related complaints, with losses close to $14 million. If you're a victim, tell a trusted adult and report it to the FBI Internet Complaint Center.
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