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Sextortion schemes targeting young boys on the rise in Nevada, FBI says


The FBI says sextortion schemes targeting young boys are on the rise in Nevada. Most cases involve adults coercing boys to produce pornography or to extort them for money. 

The lure usually begins on social media, according to the Las Vegas FBI Field Office. Typically the predator poses as a young girl and convinces a young male, usually between 14 to 17 years old, to engage in explicit activity over video. 

The predator then reveals the recording and attempts to extort the victim. 

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FBI Special Agent in Charge Spencer Evans said prosecuting these cases is becoming increasingly difficult with more and more encrypted and anonymous messaging apps, as well as more digital currency options. 

Evans warns parents to be involved with their kids and know what they’re doing. 

"We find parents that have no clue what their kids are doing online," Evans said. "And often it's those kids who are the 'least likely,' so to speak, to engage in this type of behavior and are the most reticent to come forward because they feel this heightened sense of shame and having to explain what happened to them."

Evans said sextortion crimes increased significantly during the pandemic shutdown. Perpetrators who have been prosecuted have been handed significant sentences, including life in prison. 

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.