CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Predators targeting more Utah teens with sextortion scams, FBI report says

Jan 22, 2024, 6:50 AM

Cell phone screen...

According to FBI Special Agent Curtis Cox, who serves on the Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force in Salt Lake City, most victims of sextortion are boys, ages 13-17, who are targeted and groomed by online predators that pose as teenage girls on social media. (Tanner Siegworth, KSL-TV)

(Tanner Siegworth, KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Teen sextortion cases are on the rise across the nation and in Utah.

The FBI recently released new information and guidelines for parents and teens. The data shows a 20% jump in reported cases during a six-month period that ended in March 2023.

The data reflects more than 13,000 nationwide reports of online financial sextortion of teenagers between October 2021 and November 2023. The cases include at least 20 victims who died by suicide.

According to FBI Special Agent Curtis Cox, who serves on the Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force in Salt Lake City, most victims are boys, ages 13-17, who are targeted and groomed by online predators that pose as teenage girls on social media.

Offenders trick teenagers into sending them sexually explicit pictures and then threaten to release the material if the victim doesn’t pay up.

Cox said the Salt Lake City field office gets 10-12 new cases every week for the region of Idaho, Utah and Montana.

“Teens think that if they make the payments requested that this will just go away, but that actually only exasperates the problem,” Cox said. “If they initially start off by paying $100, and the kid is able to pay $100, the request then becomes $200 or $500. It eventually gets to the point where the kid is unable to satisfy the demands.”

Agents said the cases are difficult to prosecute because many incidents go unreported due to shame and fear. Also, extortionists are often overseas, in Southeast Asia and West African countries like Nigeria.

The Internet Crimes Against Children task force in Utah is seeing a similar trend, according to Michelle Bush-Upwell, an education specialist with the task force.

Continue reading at ksltv.com

Related: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

This composite image shows former President Donald Trump (center), Stormy Daniels (top left), Micha...

Kaanita Iyer, CNN

Here are the key players in Trump’s hush money trial

Originally Published: 15 APR 24 07:00 ET Updated: 21 APR 24 20:26 ET (CNN) — Opening statements in Donald Trump’s criminal New York hush money trial are set to begin Monday, more than a year after the former president was indicted in the case. The trial, which made its way swiftly through jury selection last week, is expected […]

5 hours ago

A Draper police officer and two teenagers were in the hospital following a car wreck Saturday night...

Devin Oldroyd

Draper police officer, teenagers sent to hospital after car wreck

A Draper police officer and two teenagers were in the hospital following a car wreck Saturday night.

8 hours ago

The search is underway for 25-year-old Tobias Braaten who planned to hike on the Fernwood Trail Fri...

Devin Oldroyd

UPDATE: Fernwood Trail Hiker found Sunday

The search is underway for 25-year-old Tobias Braaten who planned to hike on the Fernwood Trail Friday and return Saturday.

10 hours ago

In this June 5, 2019, file photo, Morgan Wallen arrives at the CMT Music Awards on at the Bridgesto...

Associated Press

Recently arrested Morgan Wallen says he’s “not proud” of behavior

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music star Morgan Wallen, who faces charges stemming in part from accusations that he threw a chair off the rooftop of a six-story bar, says he’s “not proud” of his behavior and accepts responsibility. The “One Thing at a Time” singer responded publicly Friday night on social media to his […]

1 day ago

Texts shown during Chad Daybell's jury trial show he and Lori Daybell planned to be together in Haw...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Texts show Chad and Lori Daybell’s relationship days after death of Lori Daybell’s husband

Just days after Charles Vallow was shot and killed in his wife Lori Vallow Daybell’s home, she was exchanging sexual texts with Chad Daybell.

2 days ago

The Unified Police Department is searching for a missing 13-year-old girl from Midvale Friday night...

Devin Oldroyd

UPDATE: Unified Police Department no longer searching for missing 13-year-old in Midvale

The Unified Police Department is searching for a missing 13-year-old girl from Midvale Friday night.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Predators targeting more Utah teens with sextortion scams, FBI report says