The FBI released the below information:
The FBI and our international law enforcement partners are issuing a joint warning about a global financial sextortion crisis. Our agencies have seen an explosion in incidents of minor boys around the world being coerced into sending explicit images online and extorted for money—a crime called financial sextortion.
In 2022, the FBI received thousands of reports related to the financial sextortion of minors, primarily boys, representing an exponential increase from previous years. Unfortunately, the FBI is also aware of more than a dozen suicides following these incidents. Today, on Safer Internet Day, we are urging children and caregivers to educate themselves about this crime and help us protect others from being victimized.
"Financial sextortion has a far wider impact than just our country and our kids—it is a global crisis that demands everyone’s attention," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "The FBI is working hand-in-hand with our international partners to prevent children from becoming victims of this tragic crime. We all have a duty to support and empower victims to come forward and show them that there is life after images."
Financial sextortion can happen anywhere, although it mainly occurs on the digital platforms where children are already spending their screen time, like social media and gaming websites, or video chat applications. On these platforms, predators often pose as girls of a similar age and use fake accounts to target young boys, deceiving them into sending explicit photos or videos. The predator then threatens to release the compromising materials unless the victim sends payment, however, in many cases, the predator will release the images anyway.
Even though financial sextortion is committed virtually, it can have serious impacts offline. After the threats and aggression, victims may feel alone, ashamed, scared, and these feelings can lead to children resorting to self harm. Law enforcement around the world wants victims to know they are not in trouble, they are not alone, and there is life after pictures.
What to do if you are being financially sextorted: