Colorado Teens at Risk: Police Probe Sextortion Scam Exploiting Middle and High School Students
Aurora, Colorado law enforcement officials are actively investigating a series of alarming incidents involving sextortion, a form of blackmail that threatens to release sexually explicit images unless targeted individuals comply with monetary demands.
The Aurora Police Department has received multiple reports, particularly from students at various middle and high schools, prompting a comprehensive investigation into the disturbing scheme.
Disturbing Sextortion Scheme
The sextortion scheme in Aurora was initially reported to a school resource officer on January 16, 2024. Subsequently, additional reports have surfaced from students and officials at Aurora Hill and Mrachek middle schools, along with Rangeview, Smoky Hill, Gateway, Vista Peak, Cherokee Trail, and Overland high schools.
Scammers engaging in sextortion typically exploit the vulnerability of individuals, often threatening to publish explicit material on the internet unless monetary demands are met. In some cases, the scheme may involve sharing explicit images with others for financial gain.
Students from six incidents have reported being direct targets of the sextortion scheme, claiming contact on Instagram by the suspect or suspects.
Investigators have discovered that dozens of other victims received unsolicited invitations to join an Instagram “Close Friends List” for monetary compensation. This list purportedly granted access to sexually explicit material shared by the suspect or suspects.
A Close Friends List on Instagram enables users to view private content shared by the account holder. In this case, victims were coerced into joining the list with the promise of explicit material, creating a concerning pattern of exploitation.
Collaborative Efforts in Aurora Colorado Sextortion Investigation
Detectives are actively collaborating with officials from the Cherry Creek School District and Aurora Public Schools to identify additional victims and provide support.
Simultaneously, investigators have engaged with Meta, the parent company of Instagram, seeking assistance in identifying the owners of suspect profiles and verifying the legitimacy of shared photos and videos.
Law enforcement in Aurora is committed to a thorough and ongoing investigation to apprehend those responsible for the sextortion scheme. The priority remains the safety and well-being of the students targeted, and authorities are urging anyone with relevant information to come forward.