#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 13°C Friday 30 July 2021

Ever take a 'sensitive' photo of yourself? You could be at risk of sextortion

Faceless criminals are using young peoples’ personal images to extort money from them and the FBI want it to stop.

crime Source: FBI

SEXTORTION IS A serious crime and something the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants to stop.

What is sextortion?

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

You might be under the illusion that this is just something that happens in the US. This crime is happening around the world, including Ireland.

In June, the PSNI in Northern Ireland issued a warning about online safety after a young Tyrone teenager apparently took his own life after he was told to post images online.

Sextortion can have devastating effects on young people and it is easy to become a victim, warns the FBI. 

Source: fbi/YouTube

The perpetrators often pretend to be people they are not and can lurk in chat rooms and record young people who post or live-stream sexual explicit images and videos of themselves.

Hack into your personal files 

If you think you would not be fooled by that, there are other ways.

The can also hack into your electronic devices with malware to gain access to your files and control you web camera and microphone without you knowing it.

If you are a victim of sextortion the important thing to remember is you are not alone.

Source: fbi/YouTube

The FBI worked on the case of Lucas Chansler – a man in Jacksonville who used numerous online personas to conceal his identity.

He impersonated teenage boys and had multiple accounts online and on social media.

He selected his victims by randomly finding young girls and striking up conversation with them.

One image he got shows at least four girls exposing their breasts while at a sleepover.

Impersonating a teenage boy

The FBI said the young girls thought they were having a conversation with a 15-year-old boy on Stickcam. A boy they were never going to see again.

He contacted the girls again, saying he would distribute the image online or on their social media unless they did 26 different poses.

In total he extorted 41 different images from them.

Source: fbi/YouTube

Following an intensive investigation the FBI found files of 350 young girls on his computer.

To date they have positively identified and registered 106 victims who are located in 26 states in the US, in Canada and in the UK.

“There are still 250 girls that still don’t have closure.”

The FBI have released all the user names and email addresses used by Lucas Chansler in an attempt to find more victims of his crimes.

sex 4 Source: FBI Facebook

The FBI want the remaining young girls to know that “the dark period in their lives is over. They don’t need to be looking over their shoulders anymore”.

Chansler plead guilty to multiple counts of child pornography production last year. He was sentenced to 105 years in prison.

How can you stay safe online?

  • Be wary of who you talking to online. Those using sextortion is most likely an adult posing as a teenager.
  • Do not be afraid to talk to an adult
  • NEVER send compromising images of yourself to anyone no matter who they are or who you might think they are
  • Do not open attachments from strangers
  • Turn off electronic devices when you are not using them

If you have a victim of this crime please contact your local garda station or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111.

Read: Nigerian gang blackmailed teen who took his own life>

Read: Online sexual predators increasingly using blackmail and threats against children>

Read next: