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FBI of San Francisco warns of increased ‘sextortion’ crimes targeting teen boys

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The FBI San Francisco field office is warning of an increased effort to coerce young boys into producing sexually explicit material through the internet.

The phenomenon is commonly called “sextortion,” which usually happens through a social media platform.

The predator will meet a young person on an online platform pretending to be a young girl in an effort to get an adolescent to send them a sexually explicit video or picture.

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Dan Costin, San Francisco FBI supervisor, explains what the criminals do next after receiving an image from the victim, who he says are usually teenager.

“Once that image is traded, they continue to use that to try to further extort for additional images or for money by holding the images the victims have passed over,” Costin says.

The predators then ask the victim for more money by threatening to share the images with the victim’s friends.

The FBI says in recent years they have seen an increase in predators pretending to be young girls in hopes of coercing boys to send material.

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Costin says the advice is simple, don’t share images with people you don’t know.

“Be sure that somebody you’re speaking with is someone you trust, have a relationship, somebody you know and not being willing to give out all of your secrets you just met an hour ago. You should be more cautious in what we share with strangers, whether that’s face to face or online, the lesson is the same,” says Costin.

Costin adds a red flag is if the escalation of the conversation from “hello” to being asked for sexual content.

If you believe you or someone you know is the victim of sextortion:

  • Contact FBI San Francisco at 415-553-7400 or online via tips.fbi.gov, or contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-the-lost or Cybertipline.org).
  • Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it.
  • Tell law enforcement everything about the encounters you had online; it may be embarrassing, but it is necessary to find the offender.
  • If you’re on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

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