The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), all partners of the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC), say financial sextortion involving children and teenagers is at an all-time high. Nationally, law enforcement has identified at least 3,000 victims in the past year.
NCMEC says parents should take the following steps if their child is a victim of sextortion:
- Remember, the predator is to blame, not your child or you.
- Get help before deciding whether to pay money or otherwise comply with the predator. Cooperating or paying rarely stops the blackmail and continued harassment.
- Report the predator’s account via the platform’s safety feature.
- Block the predator and do not delete the profile or messages because that can be helpful to law enforcement in identifying and stopping them.
- Let NCMEC help get explicit images of you off the internet.
- Visit missingkids.org/IsYourExplicitContentOutThere to learn how to notify companies yourself or visit org to report to us for help with the process.
- Ask for help. This can be a very complex problem and may require help from other adults or law enforcement.
- If a child doesn’t feel supported, they can reach out to directly to NCMEC for support at email@example.com or call NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.
- Take a moment to learn how sextortion works and how to talk to your children about it. Information, resources, and conversation guides are available at gov/sextortion.
Visit the FBI’s webpage dedicated to preventing and responding to sextortion to learn more about how you can keep the children and teenagers in your life safe.