Texas Police Department warns parents against alleged sextortion of teens

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CIBOLO, TX (KWTX) – A Texas police department is warning parents about sextortion cases targeting teens and young adults.

The Cibolo Police Department shared on its Facebook page that the department has seen an increase in reported instances where they are threatened, coerced, or blackmailed into sending money or explicit images online on apps or social media games.

The most common places where Sextortion occurs are on Snapchat and Instagram, but can also occur on children’s games such as Roblox or Minecraft.

“The victim often believes that they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship. The victim is asked to send a revealing or nude photo of themselves often after receiving an initial revealing or nude photo of the suspect,” police said.

Once the person has one or more photos of the victim, they will threaten or blackmail the victim into sending money and threaten to put the images on the social media site.

The stress of the situation drove some teenagers in other parts of the United States to commit suicide.

Cibolo PD and the FBI recommend that all parents of children who have access to online content talk to their children about the dangers.

The FBI recommends the following:

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 online requests 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.

For more information on sextortion, you can access resources and information here:

https://www.fbi.gov/…/common-scams-and-crimes/sextortion

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