Sextortion Schemes Often Lead to Teen Suicides

Home  »  Sex Crimes   »   Suicide Prevention Week: Sextortion Schemes Targeting Teen Boys Increasing

Suicide Prevention Week: Sextortion Schemes Targeting Teen Boys Increasing

Suicide Prevention Week: Sextortion Schemes Targeting Teen Boys Increasing

Sep 14, 2023

National Suicide Prevention Week is an opportune time to highlight the increasing issue of online sextortion schemes – many of which target teenage boys and have led to tragic outcomes.

A recent report from News Nation notes that sextortion is on the rise, with the FBI issuing an alert in August 2022 warning of a “huge increase.

According to News Nation:

  • Online sexual predators often ask for nude photos (then demand cash to keep them private).
  • Law enforcement authorities estimate that 80% of victims don’t come forward due to shame.
  • Sextortion has led to a number of tragic teen suicides, sometimes within hours of the predators soliciting money.

In December 2022, Dordulian Law Group posted a blog after a 17-year-old San Jose boy died by suicide following a sextortion scam.

Ryan Last was victimized by alleged online predator Jonathan Kassi who posed as a teenage girl and persuaded Last to post a racy photo online, according to police officials.

The victim is believed to have sent a photograph to Kassi and a co-conspirator. The two suspects then threatened to distribute the compromising image to Last’s friends and family, demanding that he pay them $5,000.

According to a December 2022 report from NBC, the ongoing police investigation indicates that once Last sent the suspected extortionists some money, they demanded more. “That’s when the teenager [Ryan Last] took his own life,” NBC reported.

Ryan was just days away from his 18th birthday and weeks from graduating from Ann Sobrato High School at the time of his death,” NBC said.

How Common are Sextortion Schemes?

How Common are Sextortion Schemes?
The FBI reports that sextortion schemes targeting teenage boys are up significantly. In the past year alone, more than 7,000 incidents have been reported.

“Investigators in California told News Nation they believe shame has around 80% of sextortion victims too embarrassed to come forward, and say 99% of criminals are getting away with their crimes. That makes the scheme lucrative, with investigators suspecting there are multiple rings of criminals involved, likely earning millions of dollars a week,” News Nation reported.

Some facts about sextortion:

  • Authorities suspect many cases of sextortion go unreported, making it a lucrative criminal enterprise.
  • More than a dozen sextortion cases have ended tragically (in some cases, taking young lives in a matter of hours).
  • Many sextortion cases involve young men – often beginning the same way: A friend request (ostensibly from a girl).
  • Investigators believe high school boys are being targeted since they may not suspect a scam and many have access to college accounts.

“In cases of sextortion, experts say people should alert authorities immediately and block the predator. But they shouldn’t delete posts or anything that can be used as evidence,” News Nation reported.

How to Prevent Sextortion Scams from Impacting Your Child

The FBI offers recommendations for parents, including that children come forward immediately to a trusted adult – a parent, teacher, caregiver, or law enforcement official – and report the sextortion incident.

The FBI also offers the following tips for parents and caregivers to protect children from online sextortion schemes:

  • 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.
  • Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
  • 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.
  • Be suspicious if you meet someone on a game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.

Children may feel a sense of embarrassment from such a traumatic experience. However, sextortion offenders may have hundreds of victims worldwide, so coming forward to help law enforcement identify, and ultimately apprehend suspects, may prevent additional incidents of sexual exploitation from occurring,” the FBI said.

According to the FBI, in 2021, the IC3 (Internet Complaint Referral Form) received over 18,000 sextortion-related complaints, with losses estimated at over $13.6 million.

Contact a Sextortion Victim’s Attorney Today for a Free Consultation

Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is a leading California-based child sexual abuse firm with experience handling cases involving online predators. At DLG, we represent survivors of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) throughout California and across the United States.

Founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, DLG offers sextortion survivors a unique type of legal representation which includes a four-tiered team of professionals known as the SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts).

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Our experienced and dedicated childhood sexual abuse lawyers have helped countless survivors secure justice through maximum financial damages awards.

Contact us today to discuss your sextortion scheme claim by calling 866-GO-SEE-SAM. Our team of dedicated child sexual abuse material attorneys is standing by 24/7 to answer any questions you have and help you take the first step towards obtaining justice against an online predator.

Go See Sam