CIBOLO, Texas (KWTX/Gray News) – A Texas police department is warning parents about sextortion cases targeting teens and young adults.
The Cibolo Police Department said in a post on Facebook it has seen an increase in reported cases where people are threatened, coerced or blackmailed into sending money or explicit images online through social media or games.
According to authorities, sextortion most commonly occurs on Snapchat and Instagram, but can also occur on children’s games like Roblox or Minecraft.
“The victim often believes they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship. The victim is often asked to send a revealing or nude photo of themselves after first receiving a revealing photo or nude of the suspect,” police said.
Once the person has one or more photos of the target, they threaten or blackmail them that they will put the explicit images on the social media site if they don’t send money.
Cibolo PD and the FBI recommend that all parents of children who have access to online content talk to their children about the potential dangers of the Internet.
The The FBI recommends what follows:
1. Be selective about what you share online. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to find a lot of information about you.
2. Beware of people you meet for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
3. Know that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that people are who they say they are. Images may be altered or stolen. In some cases, predators have even taken over their victims’ social media accounts.
4. Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and that person asks you to start talking on another platform.
5. Be aware. Any content you create online, whether it’s a text message, photo or video, can be made public. And nothing actually “disappears” online. Once you’ve sent something, you have no control over the next destination.
6. Be ready to ask for help. If you receive messages or requests online that don’t seem right, block the sender, report the behavior to the site administrator, or talk to an adult. If you’ve been victimized online, tell someone.
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