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The FBI is reporting an increase in ‘sextortion’ attempts in Alaska

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 3:59 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The FBI Anchorage Field Office said it is seeing an increase in “sextortion” attempts in the state.

The FBI defines “sextortion” as a crime that happens when an adult convinces a minor to share inappropriate photos or perform sexual acts online.

“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,” a release from the FBI Anchorage Field Office states. “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 said “sextortion” is an issue nationwide, but with children spending more time online during the coronavirus pandemic, they are encouraging parents to have discussions with their kids about the dangers of being online.

The FBI said it’s important for young people to know that they should be selective about what they share online, especially when it comes to personal information, and to be suspicious of strangers who message them on social media platforms.

Chloe Martin, a spokesperson for the FBI Anchorage Field Office, also said young people should know it’s OK to ask for help if they receive messages or requests that don’t seem right.

“The victim is not in trouble,” said Chloe Martin, a spokesperson for the FBI Anchorage Field Office. “What criminals often count on is the victim being too unsure to tell an adult or friend. This is something I think we can put a stop to with the victims knowing they are not going to be in trouble. They did not break the law.”

For more information on “sextortion,” including resources for children and parents, visit the FBI’s website.

Resources: 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.

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