SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It’s a scheme becoming more prevalent.
According to the FBI, a predator, posing as a young girl, deceives teenage boys into engaging in explicit activity over video. The predator records the video without permission and uses the recording to extort the victims for money.
While Sextortion, a form of sexual exploitation where sexually explicit material of people is used against them for extortion nothing new, FBI agents say they’re seeing a significant rise in it, specifically in young boys.
Cole Parkinson, the Director of NetSmartz, a program at the Boys and Girls Club of Utah County, says these crimes can be damaging for the victims who often feel they cannot come forward, due to shame and guilt.
“It really starts with manipulation and also using guilt and shame to get that teenager to do whatever it is,” said Parkinson.
Parkinson said the number one way to stay safe on the internet is to first and foremost, know the threats existing on the internet, and be selective about what information you share online.
“These red flags entail, first of all, [predators] have all the same things in common with you. They act like they have all the same interests they seem the same age as you, there’s a very attractive profile picture, they might even seem like they have the same friends,” said Parkinson.
But if a compromising situation has already occurred, Parkinson said it’s crucial teens come forward, to get the help they need. This means it’s important for parents to talk to their kids about technology beforehand, to build a trusting relationship. “Teenagers tend to think that that is true, that they are in a situation they can’t get out of when really they can say something,” said Parkinson.