RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A warning from the FBI about teenagers targeted in sextortion scams. The goal is for scammers to get money. Sextortion happens when scammers use fake identities online, and claim to have compromising pictures of the victim. Then they threaten to send the photos to their friends on social media if they don't pay. FBI officials say the bureau got more than 7,000 reports of online sextortion involving minors in 2022.
The FBI says scammers are creating what's known as "deep fakes" and using new technology to manipulate photos and videos that teens post on social media making the scammer appear to be the teen.
A Fayetteville mom reached out to ABC11 after she says this happened to her teenage son. He got a random text from a scammer with a photo claiming to have compromising pictures of him. The scammer threatened to release it to his followers if he didn't send money.
John Wilson with Fortra, a cyber-security company says besides deep fakes, scammers will send threatening emails. Wilson says the emails state, "I have all your contacts. I have complete control of your computer and by the way, I've made a video of you doing naughty things."
The Troubleshooter takeaways to protect yourself and your teen include not interacting with the scammer. Don't give the scammer access to your payment apps, and never send any money no matter how bad the threat. Block the scammer on all social media platforms, and report any threats to law enforcement right away.