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Sextortion: What is it and how can protect yourself from it?

The internet can be a very scary place and it seems every day it becomes scarier.  This is especially true for parents of teens. In the early days of the internet the concern was about the websites their children could access or stumble across. Next came instant messaging, chatting and social networking. Parents needed to monitor and be aware of who their teens were chatting with, “friending” and whether or not the teen actually knew the person on the other end. It is not uncommon to regularly hear of a teen who has been lured by a predator into meeting face to face. In some cases the teen actually gets onto an airplane to meet a stranger pretending to be a friend.  It shouldn’t shock us that there is a new crime unfolding on the internet.

The ramifications of this new evolution online are devastating. This new concern for teens and parents is a form of bullying and extortion on steroids! It starts by a predator hacking into a computer of a victim (generally an underage girl). Once access is achieved, he searches for explicit photos on the computer, downloads them and then attempts to extort more pictures and/or videos from them. “Sextortion” is the new term coined by federal prosecutors to describe the crime that has been committed.

Sextortion involves sex and extortion being used online to bully, harass and embarrass unsuspecting victims.  Although there are only a few documented and confirmed cases around the country, it should give parents a reason to open lines of communication with their teens. The perpetrator of this type of crime rely on the teen being too afraid to tell anyone, especially parents.  Similar to pedophiles the “sextortionist” will coerce their victim Continue reading Sextortion: What is it and how can protect yourself from it?