September is National Suicide Prevention Month and Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning about online sextortion ending with victims taking their own lives. Within the past 18 months, at least three teens, one in California, one in Michigan and one in South Carolina, all committed suicide after being extorted online. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there is an uptick in sextortion reports and the addition of artificial intelligence tools can simplify the process for online predators.
Artificial intelligence also makes the deception more believable. Criminals are able to purchase hacked social media accounts to send stolen or AI-generated, sexually explicit images to victims and establish online relationships with teens. This is done in an attempt to receive similar photos from the victim to use as a means of blackmail—forcing the victim to send money, perform explicit acts or even agree to an in-person meeting.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “The rapid rise of artificial intelligence makes it easier for predators to impersonate and target teens. We are beginning to see this new technology deployed in sextortion schemes to trick minors into sending explicit photos and videos of themselves. Parents, please talk to your children about online safety and remind them that adult predators may use advanced technology to appear as a peer or love interest in an effort to gain trust and ultimately take advantage of them.”