ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – St. Petersburg Police Department (SPPD) is warning the public about increased online sexting extortion cases.
“Detectives have noticed an alarming trend in cases involving people sending nude photos by phone/online to fake romantic partners, then being threatened that they will be posted publicly to their friends and family members unless they pay up,” said SPPD.
From January 1 to June 1, detectives investigated 34 cases involving underage and adult victims. This is more than twice the number reported to police last year during that same time frame.
The most common scenario is that the victim meets the person on a dating app, and after romantic exchanges, they are encouraged to share nude photos. Then the blackmail (extortion) begins.
These cases are different from the so-called “revenge porn” in that, in most cases, there isn’t an in-person relationship and the online partner is a scammer.
Sextortion is a form of cybercrime in which someone threatens to release intimate photos or videos of you if you don’t do what they want. This could be anything from sending them more explicit photos or videos to giving them money or sexual favors.
Sextortion can happen to anyone, but it’s more common among young people. That’s because young people are more likely to use social media and online dating apps, which are common places for sextortionists to find victims.
Sextortionists often use a variety of tactics to lure their victims, such as:
- Posing as someone else, such as a celebrity or a friend
- Building trust with the victim by talking to them for a long period of time
- Sending the victim explicit photos or videos of themselves
- Threatening to release the victim’s intimate photos or videos if they don’t do what the sextortionist wants
If you’re being extorted, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are people who can help you. Here are some things you can do:
- Don’t give in to the sextortionist’s demands. This will only encourage them to continue.
- Report the sextortion to the police. They can help you track down the sextortionist and bring them to justice.
- Get help from a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher, or counselor. They can support you through this difficult time and help you protect yourself from future threats.
Remember, you are not to blame for being a victim of sextortion. It’s important to seek help and support if you’re being extorted. With help, you can get through this.
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