Sextortion might be a brand new term to you, but it is possibly something your child is having to endure at this very moment.

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According to the FBI, the practice of sextortion schemes are on the rise and are targeting children in Shreveport, Monroe and the Alexandria areas.

So, Exactly What Is "Sextortion?" 

According to fbi.gov,

Sextortion is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money.

The perpetrator may also threaten to harm your friends or relatives by using information they have obtained from your electronic devices unless you comply with their demands.

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In a story from the Louisiana Radio Network, we've learned that the FBI has received a number of reports from the North Louisiana area of sexual predators posing as kids, who have coerced minors into sending them sexually explicit materials for the purpose of extorting money from them.

What's The Best Way To Prevent Sextortion?

According to spokesperson Connor Hagan, prevention of sextortion begins with a strong warning, "Kids need to understand that whoever they meet online, if they’ve never met them in person, there’s a really good chance that that person is not who they say that they are.”

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Hagan points out that any underage person should never send intimate or explicit photos or videos over the internet. He continues by highlighting kids' mistaken notion that when they use certain apps, those pictures or video are protected, and that's just not the case.

Hagan said, “These scammers who are targeting kids in our area know that.” Adding to that, he said, “They know that they can record certain things off their phones and they use those recordings in a despicable manner to target these kids for financial gain.”

These Ruthless Criminals Target Kids' Embarrassment

The predators' main weapon is the sense of embarrassment that victims feel, but to combat that, Hagan gives some great advice to parents or guardians of a child who might be the target of a sextortion scheme.

“When they come forward and let you know that they’ve been a victim of sextortion, that’s not a time to judge their actions.”  Adding to that, Hagan says, “That’s a time to get them the help that they need. And to do that you need to contact the FBI.”

If you know someone who may be a victim of sextortion, contact FBI New Orleans at 504-816-3000 and do not delete anything that could potentially be used as evidence.

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