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Rise in sextortion cases in San Diego | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Sextortion involves an offender coercing a minor to create and send sexually explicit images or video.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The FBI issued a warning to parents, educators, and young children about falling into the grips of an online predator, an all too frequent occurrence that can lead to the solicitation and enticement of minors.

Sextortion is when a predator coerces minors to create and send sexually explicit images or videos. The offender then threatens to release the photos or videos in exchange for more videos and inappropriate material from the young victims and on some occasions money. 

Victims are most usually teen males between the ages of 14 to 17 but the FBI warns that anyone, regardless of age could fall victim.

According to the latest numbers from the FBI, between October 2021 to March 2023, the FBI and Homeland Security received over 13,000 reports of online financial sextortion of minors. The sextortion involved at least 12,600 victims—primarily boys.

That number rose from October 2022 to March 2023, when the FBI observed at least a 20 period increase in reporting of financially motivated sextortion incidents involving minor victims compared to the same period the previous year.

“Nationwide, and right here in San Diego, sextortion has become a major problem. Cases in our area have doubled over the past year and the overwhelming majority of the cases target minors,” said FBI San Diego Acting Special Agent in Charge, John Kim. “The best form of prevention is education and continued awareness. Parents and caregivers should learn about what’s happening so they can talk with their kids about online safety.”

The FBI is asking that victims or those who know of any victims to immediately report the activity to law enforcement. You can report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or visiting tips.fbi.gov.

For more information on sextortion and financial sextortion, visit the FBI’s resources on the threats at: https://www.fbi.gov/sextortion and https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/sextortion/financially-motivated-sextortion.

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