Sextortion on the rise
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by Staff Writer - December, 22, 2022
In a not so shocking turn of events, cybercriminals have taken a page out of law enforcement's play book and are now using the same techniques that are used to entrap minor attracted people on young males and tricking them into providing sexually compromising information that is later used to blackmail them. The latter of these two abhorrent practices, it is called Sextortion.
In recent weeks, numerous news stories have appeared about Ryan Last, a 17-year-old high school student who sent explicit pictures to a person he believed to be a teenage girl. Unable to pay the demands of the blackmailer, Ryan Last killed himself rather then face public humiliation. This is an all to familiar scenario within the Boylove community.
These methods have been used for years by law enforcement and so-called "Pedo-hunters", online vigilantes seeking to entrap people in compromising and embarrassing situations. This has resulted in many thousands of arrests and certainly hundreds and perhaps even thousands of deaths by suicide. It is unknown how many police officers, cyber-vigilantes, and other cybercriminals have collected this information for the purposes of blackmail as few have been willing to come forward and admit that they were a victim of such a crime because of both the legal and social consequences.
A simple search of Google on "how to entrap a pedophile online" results in 100's of sites run by both law enforcement and vigilantes. These how-to sites provide invaluable information for the sextortionists to hone their craft.
The real life horror stories abound of kids being targeted in online "sextortion schemes." These crimes are frequently originating on social media sites and impacting at least "3,000 victims and have lead to more than a dozen suicides" so far according to U.S. Justice Department officials. Using similar tactics, law enforcement agents who register as adult users and later tell their targets that they are minors and who employ extreme measures to not let their target disengage have been entrapping unwary adults, leading to both imprisonment and many deaths by suicide. In both cases, the motivation is money.
Several studies including "Harm in the Digital Age: Critiquing the Construction of Victims, Harm, and Evidence in Proactive Child Luring Investigations" published in the Manitoba Law Journal in 2020 have concluded that these types of law enforcement operations “rarely uncover any instances of harmful behavior, ‘real’ victimization, or any criminal activity aside from the initial conversation.” These sting operations across the country are being funded by the federal government in the U.S. at a cost of approximately $35 million dollars a year. The law enforcement agencies that run these operations receive funding based on how many arrests and convictions they get, which is the incentive.
The events surrounding the death of Ryan Last are a tragedy. It is just one in a long list of tragedies being played out every day.