Urgent warning over ‘sextortion’ scams targeting boys online as cops say teen killed himself after paying blackmailers – Reuters News in France and abroad

The FBI has issued an urgent warning over sextortion scams just weeks after a teenager killed himself after paying off blackmailers.

The country’s authorities are now warning parents against the Internet program that targets teenagers.

Jordan John DeMay killed himself in March after being the victim of a sextortion scamCredit: DeMay Family
Her family shared their story in hopes of preventing other families from experiencing a similar tragedy.Credit: Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services

Sextortion is when a scammer asks someone to send explicit photos of themselves and then demands money in exchange for not sharing the photos.

Scammers often pretend to be teenage girls in an effort to lure potential victims, FBI agents told WJAX, the CBS News affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida.

It’s a dangerous scheme that’s been seen more and more each year, authorities said, and it’s increasingly targeting teenagers.

The warning came after Michigan teenager Jordan John DeMay took his own life after paying blackmailers $300 in March.

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The criminals threatened the teenager saying they would post an explicit photo of him if he did not pay them $1,000, police said.

A mother from South Carolina said a similar situation happened to her son.

She said the 14-year-old was contemplating suicide after sending a picture to scammers.

“Knowing that a 14 to 15 year old is being blackmailed to the degree that he was, and the things that the adult was saying. It’s even enough for an adult to consider life,” the mother told WYFF.

“We thought we were doing everything we had to do as parents, but with this sextortion thing, it’s really not that simple. It goes far beyond simple online security. »

Like DeMay’s family, the mother decided to share their story as a warning to other teens and their parents.

“If it can happen to my child, it can honestly happen to anyone’s child. I never would have thought in a million years that my child would have talked to someone he didn’t know,” the mother said.

She shared that her son was doing much better and was asking for justice.

Authorities are encouraging parents to take steps to keep their children safe online.

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The FBI encouraged the following:

  • Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information
  • Beware of people you meet online for the first time. Block messages from strangers
  • Be aware that people can impersonate anyone online. Videos and photos are not always proof
  • Beware if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to chat on another platform

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to these schemes, we encourage you to contact the authorities.

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.

A tribute to DeMay outside a local high school
A tribute to DeMay outside a local high schoolCredit: DeMay Family

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Urgent warning over ‘sextortion’ scams targeting boys online as cops say teen killed himself after paying blackmailers – Reuters News in France and abroad