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Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

Illinois Attorney General Logo


February 06, 2023

Raoul Encourages Adults to Participate in Online Trainings Focused on Financial Sextortion

Chicago  — In recognition of Safer Internet Day on Feb. 7, Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced two webinars focused on protecting children from financial sextortion, an online exploitation crime directed toward youth in which money is demanded from the victim.

According to the Attorney General’s office, self-generated content sharing, or sexting, can lead to sextortion scams when offenders obtain a victim’s explicit content and then pressure or demand the victim to send money or additional explicit content. The Attorney General’s office, which runs one of 61 Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces (ICAC) nationwide, encourages adults and educators to learn more about sextortion and how to help youth avoid being victims by participating in free webinars on Safer Internet Day.

“Self-Generated Content and Sextortion Awareness and Prevention,” a national webinar taking place Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. CST, will help participants identify and prevent online financial sextortion. The presentation will identify tactics used to target victims and focus on awareness and prevention as youth across the country are impacted. The Attorney General’s office will host an additional webinar, also focused on sextortion, at 6:30 p.m. CST on Feb. 7 as part of its bi-monthly digital safety webinar series. Individuals can register here for the 2 p.m. event and here for the 6:30 p.m. event.

“Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to talk to children about ways to protect themselves online and what to do if they end up in an unsafe situation. Today, and every day, I encourage parents, educators and caregivers to help children and teens be more aware of their online activity and develop responsible online habits,” Raoul said. “Sextortion threats can cause shame, fear and confusion, and can even lead to suicidal behaviors. I am committed to protecting children from online predators and am proud of the Illinois’ Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force’s work to protect children and provide online safety education.”

Attorney General Raoul urges teens and youth who are victims or targets of financial sextortion to take the following steps:

  • Stop responding.
  • Do not send more images.
  • Do not pay any money.
  • Do not respond to demands.
  • Do not continue the conversation.
  • Tell a parent or guardian.
  • Report and block the user.
  • Take screenshots.

Attorney General Raoul also encourages youth to protect themselves online and practice the following safe online habits:

  • Never accept friend or follower requests from people you do not know in-person
  • Never share private information such as your full name, date of birth, address, phone number, account passwords, or even the school you attend.
  • If offered gifts, games, or money in exchange for explicit photos, always say no, block the user, and report to a trusted adult.
  • Know that it’s never too late to get help or report an incident, even if you made a mistake and supplied inappropriate images. Remember, the perpetrator is at fault.

In response to increasing reports of online child exploitation, the Attorney General’s office hosts bi-monthly webinars aimed at giving parents, guardians and educators tools to help children and teens foster healthy online interactions. The free webinars take place on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. These webinars teach parents and guardians about social media and gaming apps children and teens may be using, how social media impacts mental health, and more.

Attorney General Raoul’s office, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, runs Illinois’ ICAC Task Force that investigates child exploitation crimes and trains law enforcement agencies. Over the last several years, CyberTipline reports have steadily increased. In 2022, reports to the ICAC increased by 26% over 2021.

Illinois’ ICAC Task Force is comprised of a network of more than 300 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since 2019, the Attorney General's ICAC Task Force has received more than 26,748 CyberTips and has been involved in more than 485 arrests of sexual predators. Since 2006, the Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force has been involved in more than 1,948 arrests of sexual predators. The task force also has provided internet safety training and education to more than 979,871 parents, teachers and students, in addition to more than 23,784 law enforcement professionals.