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‘Sextortion’ fastest growing crime targeting young people in US

Sextortion is "a crime that involves adults coercing kids and teens into sending explicit images online"

A form of cybercrime called “financial sextortion” is on the rise in North America and Australia which is majorly run by the Yahoo Boys, a non-organised cybercriminal group based in West Africa, CNBC reported citing a study from the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI). 

As per the FBI’s definition, sextortion is “a crime that involves adults coercing kids and teens into sending explicit images online”.

The criminals threaten their victims that if they do not pay them, they will spread their explicit images to everyone, including friends and family.

NCRI, a nonprofit, found cybercriminals used apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Wizz to find and connect with their victims. 

It said that despite evidence of reported sextortion online, these platforms have been slow to make changes that curb the spread.

In August 2023, NBC News reported that two Nigerian men were brought to the US on charges of a sextortion scheme that prompted the suicide of a 17-year-old Michigan high school student.

The accused and co-conspirators used fake accounts on Facebook and Snapchat to pose as attractive young women, connect to young male users, gain access to their friends and follower lists, and then entice the victims into sending them explicit photos.

The accused party allegedly promised that they would delete or at least refrain from distributing the photos if they sent money. 

However, as soon as they paid, the victims would face new threats and pressure to keep making payments.

Yahoo boys are online fraudsters from Nigeria.

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