Teen sextortion cases on the rise in SE Michigan
FOX 2 - The Better Business Bureau is sending out a scam alert for online sextortion targeting and hurting Michigan teens.
Teens are being conned into sending compromising photos of themselves naked to strangers they meet online, who then use them for blackmail.
"A teenager gets a friend request online from someone claiming to go to the same college I have similar interest hoping to connect," said Ashley Gibbard, BBB. "The scammer sends compromising photos oh themselves and they asked for some in return from the teenage. The scammer uses them as blackmail, like 'Pay me $20,000 or I’m going to share these,' and even if they pay up, the exploitation continues."
The Better Business Bureau was recently informed of several sextortion cases involving teens in Southeast Michigan
"They contacted us as well as filing a police report
These cases come as the BBB looks into another sextortion case in Marquette that ended in suicide for 17-year-old victim
Related: FBI Detroit warns about increase in sextortion cases involving adults targeting boys
\Investigators say was pressured to pay money in exchange for pictures he had taken of himself - to keep them from being sent to his social media followers and his family.
"The victim actually committed suicide because of this, because he couldn’t get it to stop," Gibbard said.
The BBB says there are ways for teens to prevent themselves from being victimized.
"The biggest tip that we can get is do not friend anybody on social media who you do not know, I don’t care what they look like, they could be attractive, we get it," she said. "Make sure that your privacy settings are up-to-date on your social media, Make sure you’re not sharing any valuable information. It’s kind of like currency -- you have to protect that."
The FBI’s Detroit Field Office is also investigating and says it has seen an uptick in cases primarily involving males.
If you are the victim of sextortion stop all contact with the perpetrator and contact law enforcement officials and the Better Business Bureau, Gibbard said.
"The most important thing is to cease all communication," Gibbard said. "Change your passwords and maybe delete that account and create a new one."