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FBI Issues Urgent Warning on Rising Threat of Sextortion Targeting Minors



FBI Issues Urgent Warning on Rising Threat of Sextortion Targeting Minors

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is sounding the alarm, urging parents, educators, caregivers, and children to be vigilant and informed about the growing dangers of online activity that can lead to the solicitation and enticement of minors into engaging in sexual acts. In a recent announcement, the FBI highlighted the alarming rise of sextortion, both sexually motivated and financially driven, that targets vulnerable young individuals.

Sextortion: A Growing Threat to Minors

Sextortion, as defined by the FBI, involves offenders coercing minors into creating and sending sexually explicit images or videos. These predators then exploit the compromising material they receive from the child to demand further explicit content, using threats of exposure as leverage. The offenders’ ultimate goal is to obtain sexual gratification.

The financial variant of sextortion takes a darker turn, with offenders manipulating minors into creating explicit material and subsequently extorting them for money. They threaten to release the compromising content unless their financial demands, often requested in gift cards, mobile payment services, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency, are met. In this case, the predators are motivated primarily by financial gain, though the psychological toll on their victims remains equally devastating.

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Vulnerable Victims and Global Perpetrators

While the victims of these heinous crimes can come from any background, the FBI’s data suggests that male adolescents between the ages of 14 to 17 are most frequently targeted. However, it’s crucial to understand that no child is immune to this threat.

The perpetrators behind financially motivated sextortion are often situated outside the United States, primarily in West African countries like Nigeria and Ivory Coast, as well as Southeast Asian nations like the Philippines.

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Alarming Statistics: A Cry for Action

The consequences of sextortion are dire, with victims facing immense emotional distress that can lead to self-harm and, tragically, even suicide. Between October 2021 and March 2023, the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations received a staggering 13,000 reports of online financial sextortion involving minors. This crisis has victimized at least 12,600 young individuals, primarily boys, and has tragically resulted in at least 20 suicides.

Disturbingly, from October 2022 to March 2023, the FBI observed a distressing 20% increase in the reporting of financially motivated sextortion incidents targeting minors compared to the same period in the previous year. This alarming trend is a cause for deep concern.

FBI’s Urgent Plea

FBI Special Agent in Charge, Robert Tripp, emphasizes the gravity of the situation, stating, “We’ve seen an alarming increase in financial sextortion schemes targeting children not only in the Bay Area but across the country. Parents, educators, and caregivers need to be aware of this increasingly urgent threat and empower victims to come forward.”

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Taking Action: Reporting and Resources

To combat this growing menace, the FBI urges anyone who believes they or someone they know may be a victim of sextortion or financially motivated sextortion to report it immediately to law enforcement. You can reach out to the FBI by  visiting

For further information and resources on sextortion and financial sextortion, please visit the FBI’s dedicated pages at and

In these challenging times, staying informed and vigilant is the first line of defense against this distressing threat. Let us all work together to protect our children and ensure their safety in the digital age.

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