CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is warning parents about growing cases of sextortion among teenagers and young adults.

In a Facebook post, CCSO said if your child received a new electronic device for Christmas to “Beware of dangers they face online.”

“Law enforcement officials nationwide have seen an increase in “sextortion” cases in which young people, primarily teenagers, are coerced by predators online to send explicit images of themselves.”

The sheriff’s office has seen sextortion cases locally along with the uptick in the unlawful blackmail reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CCSO said.

Deputies are offering the following tips:

  • Explain to your children the rules of online behavior. They should never discuss sex with anyone and never send explicit images.
  • Please monitor your children’s activity online.
  • Victims of sextortion can suffer humiliation and depression. Provide support to your child if they have been targeted, and consider seeking help from a mental health professional.
  • Paying the money may not stop images from being leaked online. Consider contacting law enforcement or legal counsel first.

Any unlawful activity can be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or at report.cybertip.org.

Reports can also be made to Charleston County at (843) 202-1700, any local law enforcement, or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.