NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation Memphis Field Office is seeing a rise in sextortion in both Middle and West Tennessee. This involves predators posing as teenage girls to lure teenage boys into sending sexually explicit pictures and video.

Criminals are using social media, video games and other apps to lure victims. The FBI said, criminals will then extort money out of the victim to not post their images online.

“We are seeing victims as young as seven-years-old,” Special Agent Douglas Korneski said. “Right now we have several investigations and are working aggressively to find these individuals.”

Special Agent Korneski also said the embarrassment of doing the activity is causing some victims to not tell their parents or report the crime. He encourages anyone who is a victim to tell law enforcement.

“Sexual predators can victimize children or teens in their own homes through the devices they use for gaming, homework, and communicating with friends,” Special Agent Korneski said. “We want parents and caregivers to talk with their children about schemes like this as education is key to stopping these individuals.” 

Find more Top Stories from wkrn.com

Below is a list of FBI provided tips to protect you and your children online:

  1. Be selective about what you share online, especially your personal information and passwords. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you or your children. 
  2. Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.  
  3. Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be. 
  4. Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform. 
  5. Encourage your children to report suspicious behavior to a trusted adult. 

If you need to report a crime, you can call local law enforcement or the local FBI Field Office using www.fbi.gov, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-the-lost or Cybertipline.org).