Stein: Be aware of blackmail, ‘sextortion’ schemes

Published 10:22 am Sunday, September 11, 2022

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On Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein released the following statement regarding federal law enforcement activities:

“Federal law enforcement agencies are alerting parents about an important issue impacting children: sextortion schemes. Sextortion occurs when a person contacts a minor online, often on gaming systems, apps, or social media.

“Predators pose as young people and manipulate their targets into sending intimate photos or engaging in sexually explicit activity over video. When the predator obtains this material, they then threaten to send the photos or videos to the victim’s friends or family unless the victim pays a ransom or produces more material. Sometimes, a scammer will contact their victim and claim they have photos and videos that don’t exist – all to scare kids into sending money anyway. These predators often have multiple victims, which makes it even more important that people report these scams and crimes. Stopping one predator could prevent a host of kids from being targeted.

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“Monitor your child’s social media use and make sure they know not to communicate with people whose identities you haven’t verified. If someone contacts you or your child and demands money in exchange for not releasing your photos or videos, contact your local FBI field office at 1-800-CALL-FBI or report it online at

“And when they’re online, make sure your kids know:

—“Be selective about what is posted or shared online. Sextortion scammers may gather personal information from public posts to use that information against their targets.

—“Do not send explicit photos or videos via text or through the internet.

—“Stop all contact with a stranger if you suspect they are a scammer.

—“Speak up if you or your child believe you have been contacted by a sextortion scammer.”

If you believe that you have been the victim of a financial scam, contact the state’s Consumer Protection Division at or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.