BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Two students at C.W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville were allegedly targeted with “sextortion” through Instagram and Snapchat, according to a letter from Joseph DeBarbieri, the superintendent of the Baldwinsville Central School District.
The two students were allegedly coerced and threatened over Snapchat. The School Resource Officer is investigating these two cases, along with outside agencies, including the FBI.
In one case a student’s Snapchat account was hacked and the unknown hackers asked for money in order to release the account back to the student, according to Mike Lefancheck, the chief of the Baldwinsville Police Department.
In the second case, a student’s Snapchat account was hacked and the unknown hacker wanted money for releasing the account back to the student. This student’s account did contain explicit photos and the hacker threatened to release them, Lefancheck said.
That student reached out to a school counselor who alerted the SRO. The SRO then reached out to the FBI, according to Lefancheck.
Lefancheck also said the incident occurred outside of Baldwinsville, and any possible charges will be handled by the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office or New York State Police.
According to the FBI, “sextortion” can start on any website, app, messaging platform, or game where people meet and communicate.
In some cases, the first contact with the criminal will be a threat. The person may claim they already have a revealing picture or video of a child that will be shared if the victim does not send more pictures. However, this crime more often starts when young people believe they are communicating with someone their own age who is interested in a relationship or with someone who is offering something of value.
The FBI has also seen an increase in the number of “sextortion” cases involving children and teens.
In the letter, DeBarbieri said, “We are proud of our high school students for coming forward and asking for help when they need it from our staff members, and we encourage others to do the same. We are here to support our students regardless of where or when a potentially dangerous situation is taking place.”