According to CyberScoop, data from the FBI revealed that a total of $8 million has been extorted from Americans as of July this year as hackers and other cybercriminals threatened to publish the victims' sexual images unless payment has been made.
The agency has received more than 16,000 reports of sextortion scams, almost half of which were from individuals between 20 and 39 years old. However, these complaints are just a small number of the total incidents since most sex-related crime victims often do not report such issues to the police.
Over 76,000 of extortion incidents were reported last year, with more than 23,000 individuals being involved in romance scams, where scammers pretend to be a love interest, according to a report released by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
"Most victims report their initial contact with the fraudster is mutual and made using dating websites and apps. Soon after the encounter, the fraudster requests the interaction to be moved from the website or app to another messaging platform," the FBI bulletin stated.
A man from New York was sentenced in August to serve a three-year prison term after he was found guilty of accessing nude photos of female college students by hacking into their social media accounts.