This is a common thread in sextortion schemes, say FBI special agents who investigate these cases.“Once he started in, he got to know everything about the girls—their friends’ names, their schools, their parents’ names—it was like a script,” said Erik Doell, a special agent in the FBI’s Montgomery, Alabama office who investigated the Gunn case.“Once he got a picture, the girls would just go along with it.The basic framework of the extortionist’s scheme was as cold as it was calculated: contact a young girl on a social networking site using a fake identity, gain her trust, extract some highly personal information, and then threaten to expose her intimate exchanges if she doesn’t assent to escalating demands for sexually explicit pictures or videos.
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If you receive a message with an attachment from your mother at 3 a.m., maybe the message is not really from your mother.- If your computer has been compromised and you are receiving extortion threats, don’t be afraid to talk to your parents or to call law enforcement.
Related Stories- Beware of ‘Sextortion’- Be Prudent When Posting Images Online In Gunn’s case, the scheme came to light only after kids and their parents reported his advances.
Since installing the system in January, bugs and the occasional operator error have led to a few lost sessions, but overall, Irvine says, the system is getting rave reviews from supervisors and trainees.
The quality of the recordings is high, especially for the audio, which is much clearer than on standard video- or audiotapes.
Separate police investigations in Mississippi and Louisiana uncovered strikingly similar details.
Drawing from the police investigations, the FBI searched Gunn’s home, where a cellphone and laptop computer revealed the massive scope and novel ruses of Gunn’s extortion scheme.To gain the girls’ trust, Gunn primarily used two ruses: Gunn employed these tactics for more than two years, victimizing girls in at least a half-dozen states and Ireland.The case came to light in April 2011, when junior high school students in a small town in Alabama complained to local police about requests for sexually explicit pictures they received on Facebook.Supervisors can now jump to session points they want to review with a single mouse click.Bulky tapes no longer need to be stored, and the supervisors' desktop computers have taken the place of TVs and VHS recorders.The tapes are bulky and hard to organize, he says, and the quality of the recordings is sometimes poor.