The FBI has recorded a horrifying increase in reports of financial sexual extortion schemes targeting underage boys.
US law enforcement officials said Monday there had been an “explosion” of cases of minors being persuaded to hand over explicit images of themselves.
The federal police (FBI) said that last year the authorities received more than 7,000 complaints about sexual extortion of children and adolescents that involved 3,000 victims. Most of the cases were male and led to the suicide of more than a dozen, he added.
The maneuvers originated mostly outside the United States, especially in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.
Victims were found in chat rooms on the web and on online gaming sites. They were contacted by people using false female names.
They convinced minors to send them explicit photos and upon receiving them threatened to release them unless money was sent, according to the FBI.
The victims were mostly between the ages of 14 and 17, but authorities interviewed 10-year-old boys.
“The shame, fear and confusion that victims feel when caught in this cycle often prevents them from asking for help or reporting abuse,” said the FBI, which urged parents to educate their children to deal with this threat.
“The FBI has seen a horrifying increase in reports of financial sexual extortion schemes targeting underage boys. Many victims are afraid to report (and) aren’t even included in those numbers,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
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