The father of a high school athlete who died by suicide in 2022 after becoming the victim of a sexual extortion, or “sextortion,” scam on Instagram believes the issue is much more dire than a recent FBI report suggests.
The social media crime trend is called sextortion in which bad actors entice or solicit a minor to engage in sexual acts or send blackmail money, according to the FBI, which received more than 13,000 reports of online financial sextotion involving at least 12,600 victims between October 2021 and March 2023.
“It is most alarming to me that it’s allowed to get that far,” John DeMay, Jordan DeMay’s father, told Fox News Digital. “And social media companies aren’t doing a whole lot to stop this, apparently, because that’s where it’s happening, and it’s happening a lot.”
Jordan DeMay was 17 years old when a Nigerian scammer engaged him in a sextortion plot, ultimately leading the football player to take his own life.
Samuel Ogoshi, 22, is one of three suspects from Lagos arrested last year for allegedly hacking Instagram accounts and sextorting approximately 130 victims online. Ogoshi, his 20-year-old brother, Samson Ogoshi, and Ezekiel Ejehem Robert, 19, posed as women on Instagram and coerced young men into exchanging explicit photos, federal authorities said in charging documents.
Ogoshi, who is currently facing multiple federal charges in the United States, allegedly took over a woman’s Instagram account and struck up a conversation with Jordan one night in March 2022.
Once Jordan sent an explicit photo of himself, Ogoshi threatened to expose it and make it go “viral” online if Jordan did not immediately send money. Jordan complied and sent the suspect money, but the crime only escalated from there as Ogoshi demanding more and more money from the 17-year-old.
The exchange went on for hours on a single night until Jordan told Ogoshi that he was going to kill himself.
“Good,” Ogoshi wrote. “Do that fast. Or I’ll make you do it. I swear to God.”
In the second case of financially motivated extortion, “offenders threaten to release that compromising material unless they receive payment, which is often requested in gift cards, mobile payment services, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency.”
“These offenders are motivated by financial gain, not necessarily just sexual gratification,” the FBI said in a press release.
John DeMay said his initial reaction to the FBI’s 13,000 number was that he believes the actual number of sextortion victims in the United States is much higher, but due to the stigma surrounding the crime and its victims, many people do not report it to authorities.
“That 13,000 is probably only 10% … of the actual reports for a few reasons. First, people don’t really understand that anything could possibly happen because it just seems so unattainable,” DeMay said of victims potentially getting justice. “So people, if they’re victimized, they move on from it. They shut it down. They don’t tell anybody because it’s sensitive.”
Second, DeMay said, based on his own anecdotal experience speaking with families in his small Michigan hometown whose children have been victimized by sextortion, he believes the actual number of victims may be much higher than 13,000.
The FBI also saw a 20% increase in sextortion incidents involving minors between October 2022 and March 2023.
DeMay encouraged victims to come forward if they become the victim of a sextortion crime. If one victim comes forward, DeMay said, there is a greater chance of authorities identifying a suspect.
If a person believes they have been victimized by a sextortion scheme, DeMay added, they should immediately ignore the suspect and save any conversations they may have had with that person online so that authorities can sift through it and eventually use it as evidence.
“It’s a puzzle,” DeMay said. “I spent some time in law enforcement earlier and … it’s what needs to happen. The FBI isn’t a very large agency, but they’re very effective. And they build cases by cross-referencing data. And sometimes it’s like a puzzle. Sometimes you just need that one other piece to really put the whole center of that puzzle together.”
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