Sextortion - What parents and adults need to know
SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - Tuesday is National Safer Internet day and the Sherman Police Department is taking it as an opportunity to spread awareness about sextortion.
Sherman PD Sergeant, Brett Mullin, said sextortion is a form of blackmail.
“Sextortion is basically a blackmail scheme where someone uses sexually explicit photos or videos of you and then asks you to send them money,” Mullin said.
If this sounds like a scheme that only targets unsuspecting adults - think again. According to the FBI, It is happening to thousands of children and teenagers, primarily boys.
If you do send the money, they threaten to send them money to avoid embarrassment,” Mullin said.
If you think sextortion only happens in large cities, Mullin said we have seen it right here in Texoma.
“It is here, and it can happen to you,” Mullin said.
According to Mullin, predators find their victims online on apps that parents may think are harmless.
“There’s Snapchat, Whatsapp,” Mullin said.
Any app where messages and photos can be shared is an opportunity for predators to lure victims. He says this manipulation starts with persuasive messages.
“Things ultimately lead to sending photographs, and ultimately it leads to sending those sexually explicit photographs,” Mullin said.
This type of blackmail is not always from online trolls.
It could be anybody, adults are susceptible to this, so anyone needs to be careful where they are sending these kinds of photos,” Mullin said.
Even sexually explicit photos in the hands of an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend are a risk.
“The best way to stop this is to not send the photos at all, the way to get that started is having open communication and awareness of the potential dangers,” Mullin said.
If you do find yourself a victim of sextortion screenshot all of the messages, report it to your local police department and…
“Don’t give in to their demands, don’t send them any money, because they might continue asking you for more money,” Mullin said.
For any young person who feels trapped by this online crime…
“You gotta tell somebody, you gotta tell your parents, that way we can work on steps, they can work on steps to get the problem solved for you,” Mullin said.
For more information on sextortion visit www.saferinternetday.us.
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