EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The FBI El Paso Division is warning the community to beware of blackmail schemes targeting youth in an effort to coerce them into sending indecent pictures and videos.
Sextortion is a crime the FBI says occurs online when an adult coerces a minor to send sexually explicit images of themselves or perform sex acts online.
“A lot of people confuse sextortion with sexting. But plainly, sextortion is a criminal act that involves another person, another adult, or an adult and another juvenile coercing a minor into sending sexually explicit images or videos to them,” says Jeanette Harper, Spokesperson for the FBI El Paso Division.
Sextortion begins most often through social media platforms, online gaming, or dating applications.
The FBI says that sometimes the perpetrator may claim to be in possession of information or sexually explicit photos of the target in an attempt to pressure them, but that the crime can also be perpetuated by creating a fake relationship with the minor.
“What we usually see is a relationship goes sour or wasn’t legitimate to begin with, where the victim is lured into a false sense of security and succumbs to pressure of providing those images or those types of videos,” says Harper.
The FBI stresses that a crime has been committed as soon as an adult asks a young person for a single graphic image or video.
Victims of sextortion can report the crime online at tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI.