District urges vigilance amid recent sextortion cases

Dear Fayetteville-Manlius parents and guardians, 

The district has been made aware of at least two recent sextortion cases in which school-aged children in the Town of Manlius were targeted outside of school via social media. The cases are currently being investigated by law enforcement officials, according to the Town of Manlius Police Department.

By definition, sextortion is the act of coercing victims, typically minors, into sending nude or explicit images or video and threatening to release the compromising material unless the victim sends additional explicit content, money or gift cards.

Sextortion usually occurs in online environments where young people feel most comfortable, such as on social media platforms, gaming sites, or video chat applications. Predators often use fake accounts and in many cases, will release the images or videos even if payment is made, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Sextortion is a crime. Predators exploit children and teens, which can cause feelings of fear, shame and embarrassment. Because victims may find it difficult to ask for help, we encourage families to have open conversations about online use, safety and the importance of online vigilance.

  • Do not take, save or share any explicit photos of yourself or others.
  • Do not share usernames or password information with anyone.
  • Do not open a message or click on a link from an email address or name that you do not know. Delete it immediately.
  • Understand that every action taken on social media, and online in general, leaves a digital footprint that does not disappear.

It is also important to follow these safety tips:

  • Immediately change all usernames and passwords that have been shared with anyone.
  • Stop all contact with the offender; report and block the predator’s account via the platform’s privacy feature.
  • Do not delete any accounts or messages as they could contain information that assists with the investigation.
  • Ask for help. Report the situation to a trusted adult, such as a parent or guardian, teacher or counselor. If you don’t feel that you have adults in your corner, you can reach out to NCMEC for support at gethelp@ncmec.org or call NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.

We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of our students and are here to support anyone who may be struggling. You are not alone.

If you or your child feels they may be a victim of sextortion, or any form of cybercrime, please contact the Town of Manlius Police Department immediately at 315-682-2212, or via its Confidential Tips Hotline: 315-682-8673.

More information, resources, and conversation guides are available at fbi.gov/sextortion.

Craig J. Tice, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools