FBI warns about dangers of ‘sextortion’

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The FBI is warning about the ‘sextortion’ of minors, where online predators prey on kids for sexual photos of themselves.

The FBI says predators ask for these photos and then demand outrageous sums of money to keep them off the Internet.

In 2021, the Albuquerque Field Office had 126 reports of sextortion in New Mexico. Predators extorted a reported total of $44,000 from minors.

This year, there have been 107 reported cases. However, the FBI says the number of cases and amounts extorted are most likely much higher but victims are often too embarrassed to come forward.

Now, the agency is warning about sextortion cases on the rise nationally.

“We think that a lot of teenagers got online and developed these social networks during COVID and they have maintained them and have expanded them. The predators know this and they are seeking these victims out,” said Frank Fisher, the public affairs officer for the FBI’s Albuquerque Division. “Anything you send on the internet, particularly if it’s a compromising photo of yourself, stays there forever, it’s not going to go away.”

If you or someone you know may be a victim, the FBI recommends, among other things that you do not delete anything before law enforcement can look at it. They know it can be embarrassing but you should tell law enforcement everything. The more honest you are, the more information they have to track down the suspect.

More information about this is available on the FBI’s website.