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Financial sextortion schemes mostly target teenage boys, largely through Instagram: Report 

A new report says teenage boys are the most frequent targets of financially motivated “sextortion” scams carried out via Instagram and other social media platforms.

of report The report, released jointly by technology company Thorn and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on Monday, examined more than 15 million reports made to NCMEC’s ​​CyberTip Line between 2020 and 2023.

The investigation found that sextortion is on the rise, with an average of 812 sextortion reports received by NCMEC per week last year.

The report defines sextortion as “threatening to expose sexual images if demands are not met.” About two-thirds of all reports involved demands for money, it said.

The investigation noted that in the past sextortion frequently targeted young girls and included requests “of a sexual or relationship nature”.

But the latest report finds that the majority of financial sextortion victims are boys: 90% of financial sextortion victims are boys between the ages of 14 and 17, according to the report.

“These reports almost always involve ‘catfishing’ scams, where perpetrators pose as other young people and manipulate teens into sharing sexual images or videos of themselves. The perpetrators then threaten to share the images with family, friends and followers unless payment is made,” the report said.

According to the report, Instagram was the most commonly cited platform in financially motivated sextortion data, with Facebook and YouTube also frequently cited as platforms where perpetrators would threaten to post content.

Instagram was mentioned in 81.3% of threats to spread content online, and it was the platform of choice in 60% of reports where content ended up being spread online.

Instagram and Snapchat were also the top two platforms where initial contact with victims occurred: 45.1 percent of reports mentioning an initial contact platform listed Instagram as the initial contact platform, compared with Snapchat at 31.6 percent.

The Hill has reached out to Instagram and Snapchat for comment.

“This behavior is abhorrent and we are committed to removing content intended to harm our community. We take this issue very seriously and have strict policies in place to protect users from scams and other harmful behavior, and we rigorously enforce them using a combination of human review and machine learning technology,” YouTube said in a statement.