Spike in ‘sextortion’ cases targeting teenage boys in Tampa Bay

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Still from Sextortion PSA // Credit: St Petersburg Police Department Facebook

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The FBI Tampa Field Office has seen an increase in sextortion cases targeting teenage boys, and both the FBI and the St Petersburg Police Department are encouraging victims to come forward.

Sextortion occurs when a criminal encourages victims to send nude photos. After that, they are threatened to either send money or face their photos being shared with friends and family.

“’I got a friend request from this girl that just moved here. She said she saw my profile and thinks I’m hot’ ‘It starts with a few simple texts and maybe a few pictures, then quickly escalates into threats demands’  ‘They said if I don’t send the money, my family and friends will get the pictures’”

That’s audio from a newly released PSA from St. Pete PD and the FBI. FBI Special Agent in Charge David Walker says he’s seen 15 cases in the Tampa Bay area in the past week.

“We’re seeing the victims are getting younger and younger, right? So 13 years old is not unusual at this case.”

Walker says the usual targets are young men. St. Pete Chief of Police Anthony Holloway had a message for those behind the sextortion cases:

“We will find you. It may take time but we will find you.”

According to St. Pete Police, parents should have honest conversations with their kids about sextortion.

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