CLEVELAND - The Cleveland FBI has found that sexual predators are getting more creative in deceiving people online and that no one is exempt from being targeted.
The most common targets are children.“We're seeing a trend in which you've got a lot of younger kids - pre-teens, 10, 11, 12 years old - who are online, talking to people they don't know,” said Special Agent Kelly Liberti.
“So for our kids, one of the biggest things we've seen recently is we'll have subjects just scroll through Facebook to find a picture of a young kid that they like.
While Hejl explains that exact numbers for this type of crime are not currently available because the crime is not filtered separately in Austrian criminal statistics, it is assumed by the police that the crimes in Austria are now in the “high double-digit range” and that the numbers continue to grow each year.
Experts and police are warning that so-called “sextortion” scams, whereby a scammer will dupe a victim into stripping and performing sex acts online before demanding a sum of money or threatening to release the footage, are increasing across Europe.
The scams usually involve a victim being contacted on Facebook by an unknown, attractive woman, who will suggest a video chat.
A few hundred euros is typically demanded from victims, and most of the criminals behind the scams operate from outside Austria.
“In a number of cases, a referral of around €200-€300, mainly via Western Union, is required to recipients in North African countries,” Hejl says.