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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies sextortion as a form of online blackmail where explicit images are used to extort additional photos, sexual favors, and sometimes money from victims.
It can involve hacking into a victim’s computer or “catfishing” — where predators lure unsuspecting victims into online relationships and coerce them into sharing nude photos or videos.
But Evans says that compared with perpetrators of Nigerian prince scams, for example, who often use broken English and implausible premises, this new breed of online predator is far savvier and more dangerous.
And while you might expect to find catfishers on dating sites, Evans routinely handles cases where victims have been approached on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, and other social media sites.“Everyone has the need to feel loved and these online predators are very good at what they do,” Evans says.
Heather knew there were adults on the Internet who preyed on kids, and she regularly warned her own four children about the dangers of talking to strangers online.
Yet the 37-year-old married mom from Phoenix never thought she would ever fall victim to a growing Internet crime known as sextortion.
“I was upfront about being married, but Dan was smart and funny, and talking with him filled a void in my life.”It didn’t take long for Dan to move the conversation from the public Twitter timeline to communicating discreetly with Heather through private direct messages.The perpetrator said that if she declined, he would release photos of Wolf undressing that he had obtained by hacking her webcam.