The FBI’s Official Tips On Avoiding Sextortion Online

The FBI’s Official Tips On Avoiding Sextortion Online

Because of recent “sextortion” cases that involved using the ol’ Justin Bieber Ruse (that’s a real thing), the FBI decided that it should put out a few official tips to inform the online collective on how to avoid sexual extortion.

What is the Justin Bieber Ruse? Well, Christopher Park Gunn (a guy recently sentenced to 35 years in prison for basically sextorting young girls) pretended he was Justin Bieber online, tricked girls and promised them concert tickets or backstage passes in exchange for topless pictures. The ruse worked well enough for Gunn that it landed him in jail. It’s awful.

Gunn had another technique, which the FBI termed ‘the New Kid Ruse’, where he would contact a young girl on a social network with a fake identity, gain her trust, get some secrets and then threaten to expose her deeply personal information if she didn’t send over sexually explicit pictures. Yeah. Terrible. In order to prevent this from happening to other girls, the FBI has put out official tips for people to follow. It’s, um, well, you’ll see:

  • Don’t take for granted that your computer’s antivirus software is a guarantee against intrusions.
  • Turn off your computer when you aren’t using it.
  • Cover your webcam when not in use.
  • Don’t open attachments without independently verifying that they were sent from someone you know.
  • It’s OK to be suspicious. If you receive a message with an attachment from your mother at 3 a.m., maybe the message is not really from your mother.
  • If your computer has been compromised and you are receiving extortion threats, don’t be afraid to talk to your parents or to call law enforcement.

Yeah, some of it is real tin foil hat type advice, but I think the moral of the story is to not be afraid to contact the authorities because they can lock up people like Gunn for this stuff. Or maybe it’s to never take a naked picture of yourself, because it will probably end up online one way or another. Or maybe it’s to never trust strangers. Or maybe just stay off the internet. It’s filled with terrible people who take advantage of impressionable kids. Ugh, I feel gross. [FBI via BuzzFeed]

Picture: Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock