FBI warns of rise in sextortion of NJ teen boys
The FBI is warning of an increase in sextortion attempts involving teen boys in New Jersey.
Sextortion is a crime where an adult predator convinces a child to share sexually explicit photos or video, then threatens to post the content online unless the child sends more images or money.
The FBI Newark Field Office says in most recent cases, teenaged boys between the ages of 14 and 17 are being targeted in New Jersey and are urging parents to closely monitor who your kids are talking to online.
While not mentioning any specific cases, the FBI says any gaming platform, social media site or smartphone apps that allow interactive communication could put your child at risk.
Agents are warning that parents may unwittingly expose their own kids to child predators, by sharing too much personal information on their own social media accounts.
The FBI is providing the following tips to protect you and your children online:
- 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 or your children.
- Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
- 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.
- Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.
- Encourage your children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult.
- Talk to your child about the risks and dangers of sharing sexually explicit images or videos.
If you think your child may have been exposed to a child predator or has been the victim of sextortion, contact the FBI at www.fbi.gov or your local law enforcement. You can also contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-the-lost or Cybertipline.org).
The FBI urges parents not to delete anything relating to the potential crime until police are able to review it and to be truthful about any encounters that may have happened. The details may be embarrassing, they say, but are necessary to locate the offender and bring him or her to justice.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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