FBI warns parents about massive online ‘sextortion’ scheme targeting teens

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(July 8, 2015) -- A warning right now from the FBI— agents are investigating a massive online "sextortion" scheme tied to a Florida man. There are likely hundreds of victims still out there, and there could be victims here in Indiana.

"Sextortion is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money, " explained in this FBI video.

Last year, following a long investigation, Lucas Michael Chansler, 24, of Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of child pornography production and was sentenced to 105 years in prison.

Investigators say Chansler connected with victims on social media, usually targeting girls 15 years old or younger.

Between 2007 and 2010, Chansler convinced these girls to send an explicit photo or video. He then threaten to tell their family if they didn't send more.

At least 350 girls were victims of Chansler's scheme, but investigators have only identified about 110 of them, which is why the FBI is reaching out to the public.

Victims have been located in 26 states, Canada and the United Kingdom. The FBI found more than 80,000 explicit pictures and videos of children on Chansler's computer.

In a recent exclusive interview, Indiana's FBI Special Agent in Charge Jay Abbott told FOX59 parents must monitor their kids' social media activity.

"These victims are extremely vulnerable. There is no one else to protect them. Social media is a moving target. It's hard to stop it," said Abbott.

The FBI reminds parents to tell their children not to send compromising pictures to anyone. Also, do not open attachments from strangers and turn off devices when you are not using them.

Chansler used 135 known screen names online. Click here for a link for Chansler's most commonly used screen names.

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