CHICAGO — A new report from the FBI indicates an alarming increase in financial sextortion cases nationwide, especially in the Chicago area.
Nationwide reports of sextortion cases jumped 463% from 2021 to 2022, with a 539% rise in local cases.
There was a 322% rise nationally in financial sextortion cases with a 383% increase in Chicago.
Conventional sextortion typically targets young women and girls for the purpose of obtaining sexual content.
Targets of financial sextortion tend to be young men and boys with the ultimate goal of getting money.
The FBI has a number of resources online to help people prevent becoming a victim, including a program for children in grades 3 through 8 to teach them about online safety through a video game.
The program is offered in English and Spanish.
The FBI encourages people to be selective about what they share online, be wary of anyone they encounter online for the first time, remember anything they send or post can be made publicly available and be willing to ask for help.
If a child is targeted, the FBI says parents should tell them they aren’t in trouble and not alone, remember the predator is to blame, not the child or parents, report and block the predator, don’t delete profiles or messages as they could be helpful to law enforcement and ask for help before sending money or more images.
If you or someone you know is being exploited, the FBI says they are a victim of a crime and it should be reported.
Tips can be sent to the FBI online.
People can also report tips by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or contacting a local field office.