FBI Discusses Sextortion in Live Twitter Chat

In a live Twitter chat in July 2015, the head of the FBIas Violent Crimes Against Children Section answered questions from users on the social media platform about sextortion crimes.

Visit the FBI’s Twitter and view the chat at @FBI


In a live Twitter chat today, the head of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Section answered questions from users on the social media platform about sextortion crimes.

During the conversation, Special Agent Calvin Shivers defined sextortion, provided links to educational resources for parents and kids, and encouraged victims to reach out to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

The hour-long question-and-answer session generated questions that users sent to the Twitter hashtag #AskFBI. A transcript of the conversation can be seen below. The questioners’ identities and some Twitter-specific symbols have been removed, but the conversation can be viewed on the FBI’s Twitter page or by using the hashtag #AskFBI.


Shivers: Welcome & thanks for joining us at our #AskFBI live chat, where we’ll be taking your questions about the crime of #sextortion.

Shivers: AD Campbell couldn’t make it; I’m Calvin Shivers, head of the Violent Crimes Against Children Section, look forward to answering Qs.

Q: What measures are being taken to help decrease #sextortion in the Portland, Oregon metro area?

Shivers: Campaign is nationwide. If you/anyone you know is a victim, call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324). More at: https://www.fbi.gov/sextortion

Q: What are your plans to decrease the amount of people falling victim to #sextortion?

Shivers: Education of children & parents is key: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/july/sextortion/stop-sextortion-brochure. Vigorous prosecution of individuals engaging in #sextortion.

Q: Often victims won’t come forward because they fear their privacy won’t be protected by law enforcement; how to address this?

Shivers: #FBI works to protect ID of victims during investigations. Victim Specialists in each office are trained to provide assistance.

Q: What kind of measures are being taken to reduce #sextortion in young teens? Or to prevent it from happening?

Shivers: Education: never engage in risky behavior online; don’t be afraid to talk to parents, call FBI. More at: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/december/cyber_122211.

Q: Is this problem becoming more common or is it that there is now more media focus and attention on it?

Shivers: Tech gives offenders new avenues to exploit kids. Users & law enforcement are better understanding #sextortion & how to stop it.

Q: Seriously, what is sextortion? How is it similar/different than other Human Trafficking definitions we know?

Shivers: Sextortion is online blackmail involving the threat to release/distribute material (photos, etc.) victim seeks to keep private. Victims are asked to provide something (explicit pics, etc.) or to recruit other victims into the cycle of abuse.

Sextortion occurs online; human trafficking is a commercially based act initiated through force, fraud, or coercion. 

For more information on sextortion and what it entails: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctHCpay_onI.

Q: Can victims of sextortion living outside U.S. seek FBI help? If so how do they get in touch with the FBI?

Shivers: Anyone can report sextortion activity to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov or 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324)

Q: Should sextortion cases be taken to the FBI or local LEOs?

Shivers: Call the FBI. These are global cases; in addition to working w/ state & local partners, FBI works closely w/ international LEOs.

Shivers: Thanks for joining me today and being part of the conversation. Thanks also to @MissingKids &@glamourmag for raising awareness.

We’re still seeking additional victims in the Lucas Chansler #sextortion case. For details:https://www.fbi.gov/sextortion.

Kids can learn more about online safety through #FBI Safe Online Surfing program: https://sos.fbi.gov/.