ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The FBI Anchorage Field Office is reporting an increase in sextortion attempts in Alaska, involving adults coercing minors through online platforms into producing sexually explicit images and videos.
Sextortion begins when an adult contacts a minor over any online platform used to meet and communicate, such as a game, app, or social media account. Through deception, manipulation, money and gifts, or threats, the adult convinces the minor to produce an explicit video or image. When the minor resists these requests, or stops producing images, the criminal will use threats of harm or exposure to pressure the minor.
The FBI seeks to inform Alaska’s youth and parents of this crime, so they know how to avoid sextortion attempts and how to ask for help if they are victimized. The FBI wants Alaskans to be aware of the following:
- An adult has committed a crime as soon as they ask a minor for a single graphic image. Sextortion is a crime because it is illegal and wrong for an adult to ask for, pay for, or demand graphic images from a minor.
- The victim is not the one who is breaking the law. This situation can feel confusing, and criminals count on victims feeling too unsure, scared, or embarrassed to tell someone. Even if this started on an app or site they are too young to be on. Even if they felt okay about making some of the content. Even if they accepted money or a game credit or something else, the victim is not the one in trouble.
- Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
- Be suspicious if you meet someone on one game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.
- Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information and passwords. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, it is possible to learn a lot of information about you.
- Be aware people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof a person is who they claim to be.
- Any content you create online – whether it’s a text message, photo, or video – can be made public. Once you send content, you don’t have any control over where it goes next.
- Be willing to ask for help. If you are getting messages or requests that don’t seem right, block the sender and report the behavior.
If you believe someone you know has been a victim of sextortion, contact the FBI Anchorage Field Office at (907) 276-4441 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
Click here for more information about Sextortion, including resources for teens, schools, parents and caregivers.