FBI warning about online chatting, sextortion during coronavirus outbreak

FBI warning about online chatting, sextortion during coronavirus outbreak

PITTSBURGH — FBI officials are warning that online chatting can lead down some dangerous paths during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Anytime you have a lot of kids spending more time online then you’re going to see that opportunity for sexual exploitation to increase,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tim Wolford.

Wolford said the agency is keeping an eye out for a rise in sextortion where someone threatens to post embarrassing photos or videos to extort money.

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“Anytime somebody can get a picture that you would feel is compromising or embarrassing, that can be used to blackmail,” Wolford said.

He said he expects to see a spike in the coming weeks.

The FBI’s Pittsburgh office confirmed it is investigating a local case involving an adult where the suspect tried to extort thousands of dollars in Bitcoin to not post photos.

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