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FBI issues warning about ‘Sextortion’

Agents say online predators frequently target chidlren and teens

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a warning for adults, teen, and children: Beware of online predators.

Agents say incidents of "sextortion" are on the rise. That term refers to a broad category of sexual exploitation involving blackmail. Predators typically threaten to release sexual images or information unless the victim complies with their demands.

The FBI says this type of predator usually preys on kids between the ages of 10 and 17. Although, agents say they have handles cases involving children younger than 10.

The culprits in these crimes connect with their victims in chat rooms and gaming lounges, as well as on social media.

"So what we're seeing in Arizona is, we've seen instances where through deception the criminal is a able to obtain a password of personal information and access someone's social media account, which then gives them access to their photos and friends list as well. The criminal then uses those photos or that information to extort the teen." said Brook Brennan with the Tucson FBI office.

Brennan said the agency recently launched its "Sextortion Awareness" campaign to educate parents and kids about the risks they face online. She says knowledge is power when it comes to this type of predator.

To learn more about this crime, and how to prevent it, you can visit the FBI's website or call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Arizona News / Crime

Joe Teposte

Award-Winning Photojournalist, News Professional Trainer, Production, Writer, 20+ Years in Yuma News.

Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she has a long history with the Desert Southwest.

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