CAMILLUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Camillus Police are calling on parents to be On The Lookout for a scam targeting teenage boys. There are three cases of “sextortion” in the West Genesee School District. The FBI is also reporting an uptick in reports around the country.
In the most common variation of the scheme, an adult poses as a teen girl and contacts the teen boy online gaming, an app, or social media account. They convince the victim to send sexually explicit images of himself. They then threaten to release the images and videos unless they are paid. One student sent $1,000.00 to the imposter.
Camillus Police say the three teen boys shared what happened with their School Resource Officer. “This is traumatic for them. It’s traumatic for anybody if it ever happens to them, ” says Captain James Nightingale.
People make mistakes all the time and we learn from them. Having trust in our SRO, to come forward and talk to him, it’s a huge compliment to the SRO’s ability to have the rapport with kids in school.”
The first step to protect children is for parents to monitor their activity online.
“The most effective way to stop these criminals is by preventing young people from becoming victims. We can do that through awareness, education, and having important — and sometimes difficult — conversations with the young people in our lives,” said Nightingale.
Camillus Police believe there are more victims and encourage teens to come forward and report to their School Resource Officer or local police department.
Sextortion cases or suspicions of one can also be reported to tips.fbi.gov. The FBI provides the following tips to protect children online:
- Be wary of anyone you encounter online for the first time. Block messages from strangers.
- Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information.
- Be aware that people can pretend to be anyone online. Videos and photos are not always proof.
- Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you chat on another platform.