'He considered killing himself:' Kentucky teen victim of face photoshopped onto pornographic images

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Posted at 11:10 AM, Oct 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 11:13:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Kentucky teen said he was shocked to find his face photoshopped onto pornographic images. Authorities say he's a young victim of sextortion.

The boy's mother says the threats panicked her son to the point he considered killing himself. "He sent me a text saying they posted it. I'm done. Goodbye," said the teen's mother, who asked to remain anonymous.

This past week, her son called her in a panic after he was sent fake photos. "It is very upsetting that they are targeting children."

The FBI says "they" are scammers trying to extort money by threatening embarrassment and worse. In this case, it started when the teen accepted a video call on Instagram from a profile photo of a pretty girl. This allowed scammers to take a screenshot of his face.

"They ended up photoshopping it onto some pornographic images," said the mother.

He was then sent the images with a message to pay $5,000 or they would forward them to all his friends. "He called me hysterical. He has a problem with bullying at school, and he said, 'I'm done.' I'm going to kill myself. I can't do this. Everybody is going to make fun of me."

The mother rushed home to calm her son down, assuring him no photos had been posted anywhere. Furious, she then confronted the scammers online telling them to stop.

They sent back this message threatening to send the photos "to the inhabitants of your current city ..."

Authorities said the way it's written is a clear sign the threat was coming from someone outside the country, and that rarely — if ever — are such doctored photos sent to anyone. They are empty threats designed to shock and compel someone to pay up, authorities said.

The best advice is to not answer online messages or texts from people you do not know.

Anyone dealing with sextortion can report the crime to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. Agents see many of these cases and have helped thousands of young people stop the harassment, and sometimes arrest the persons responsible.

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