BWBRSA: Sextortion

Episode Summary

Two harrowing stories – those of Asia Anderson and Walker Montgomery – illustrate how the rising digital threat of sextortion can impact anyone and forever change lives.

Listen Now

For our friends in the Deaf and Signing community, you can view an ASL version of this episode HERE.

Episode Info

If you believe you have been a victim of sextortion by Buster Hernandez, AKA Brian Kil, AKA Purge of Maine, and or any of the usernames listed here, you can contact the Indianapolis FBI Office at 317-595-4000 or submit the information to https://tips.fbi.gov/home.


  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Find information and tips to help keep children safe. Also available in Spanish.
  • National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC): CyberTipline: Report incidents of child sexual exploitation, including sextortion; Phone: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678); Website: www.missingkids.org
  • Take It Down: A free service offered by the NCMEC that can help to remove or stop the online sharing of sexually explicit images or videos taken of victims before they were 18 years old.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for support and resources.
  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources, and best practices for U.S. professionals.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: Operated by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), which offers support for survivors of sexual assault and abuse, in partnership with local providers nationwide. Call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or visit the online chat hotline or the Spanish online chat hotline.
  • Safe from Online Sex Abuse (SOSA): A nonprofit that raises awareness about and combats online child sex abuse and exploitation.
  • Crisis Text Line: A free, 24/7 text service for people in crisis. Text “HOME” to 741741 in the United States.
  • Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI): Provides resources for dealing with non-consensual pornography (revenge porn) and online harassment.
  • NetSmartz: NCMEC’s Online Safety Program provides resources, videos, and educational materials to teach children, teens, and parents about online safety.
  • Thorn: An organization dedicated to combating the sexual exploitation of children. Get help by texting “THORN” to 741741 to confidentially speak with a trained counselor.
  • StopCyberbullying.org: Offers information and resources on how to prevent and respond to cyberbullying and online harassment:
  • LoveisRespect.org: Provides resources for teens and young adults dealing with dating abuse and unhealthy relationships. Call 1-866-331-9474/1-800-787-3224 (TTY), text “LOVEIS” to 22522, or chat online.
  • Stalking Resource Center: Provides information and resources on stalking and online harassment.

Staying Safe

Anyone who uses the internet risks encountering people who wish to cause harm. But you can take certain measures to lower the chances of this happening to you or your children.

  • Don’t share explicit images or videos with strangers online. Don’t send or post any pictures of yourself online that you wouldn’t show your grandmother or boss. Assume that once something is online, you have no control over its distribution.
  • Be extremely cautious about sharing personal, sensitive or intimate information online. Restrict the information you share on social media and adjust privacy settings to limit who can view your posts.
  • Maintain open lines of communication with your children. Make sure they know that they won’t get in trouble if they experience online abuse. This way, they’ll feel more at ease reaching out for help if something happens.
  • Educate yourself, your children, and your community (especially young people) about online safety, including the risks of sharing explicit content and engaging in intimate conversations with strangers.
  • Consider limiting your children’s internet use or spot-check their phones and other devices. Start by selecting appropriate apps and websites, and establish guidelines for access. Open discussions and including them in decisions can build trust and responsibility. Utilize parental control features. Keep tabs on the people your children are communicating with; this can be part of an open and ongoing conversation about what is (and isn’t) appropriate online. It also may be worth considering a rule against devices in bedrooms overnight or shutting off Wi-Fi access after a certain time.
  • Treat online interactions with the same skepticism as you would with strangers in real life. Help your children learn to have a healthy skepticism of strangers online and identify red flags that they may not be who they claim. SOSA recommends making this lesson interactive by creating a fake profile together, which will help them truly see how easy it is for someone to fake their identity. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children also has resources, videos, and games to help younger childrenand teens understand online risks.
  • Use strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of security. When not in use, turn off devices – especially those with cameras, microphones, or webcams – to prevent unauthorized access. Don’t click on links in e-mails from people you don’t know.
  • If someone exhibits concerning behavior, threatens you, or asks for explicit content, report them to the platform administrators and, if necessary, law enforcement.

Grooming warning signs

What to know about online abuse and trauma

Ways to prevent grooming

What to do when a predator contacts your child

Get Help

If you, your child or a loved one becomes a victim of sextortion, try to remain calm. Remember, sextortion is a crime, and the predator is to blame, not your child or you.

  • Do not comply with the sextortionist’s demands, whether they involve sending more explicit content, money, or anything else. Giving in to their demands rarely stops the harassment and can lead to more serious problems.
  • Save all conversations, chats, or messages exchanged with the sextortionist. Do not delete your profiles or the messages exchanged. If financial demands are involved, document any transactions made. Record any telephone numbers, email addresses, usernames and profiles you might have received from the person. This evidence can be crucial for any potential investigations or legal actions.
  • Many resources advise blocking the perpetrator, but SOSA recommends waiting until law enforcement advises you to do so, because blocking the person could result in losing access to their information.
  • Contact law enforcement right away. Reporting the incident is key to stopping the perpetrator and getting help. Contact your local law enforcement or local FBI field office. You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or report it online at fbi.gov.
  • If a minor is involved, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or report online sex abuse to NCMEC’s CyberTipline.
  • Reach out to a trusted adult or friend for emotional support and guidance. If you don’t feel that you have adults in your corner, you can reach out to NCMEC for support at [email protected] or call 1-800-THE-LOST.
  • If you or your child is struggling emotionally due to the incident, consider seeking professional help from therapists or counselors specializing in trauma or cyberbullying.
  • Get it removed. Most social media platforms, websites, and apps have mechanisms to flag inappropriate content. Some platforms offer customer support that you can reach out to directly. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s “Take It Down” program helps remove images of minors. Visit orgto get NCMEC’s help or missingkids.org/IsYourExplicitContentOutThere to learn how to notify companies.

Report it, because if someone threatens to share explicit images of you, they’re likely also threatening others.

Red Flags

Remember that these red flags should not be taken in isolation. It’s important to consider the overall context and the combination of behaviors you observe. Trust your instincts – if something feels off or uncomfortable, it’s better to be cautious and seek advice or report the situation to appropriate authorities.

  • Rapid Escalation: Be cautious if an online relationship becomes very intense or personal too quickly. Sextortion perpetrators often try to establish an emotional connection rapidly to gain trust and manipulate victims.
  • Emotional Manipulation: Watch out for attempts to emotionally manipulate you, such as playing on your feelings of loneliness or insecurity, asking you to keep secrets, and making you follow rules about your interactions.
  • Pressure and Coercion: Any form of pressuring, guilt-tripping, or coercing you into doing something you’re uncomfortable with, including sharing explicit content, is a red flag.
  • Explicit Content Requests: If someone you’re communicating with online asks for explicit photos, videos, or personal information, it’s a major red flag. Legitimate relationships should be built on trust, respect, and consent.
  • Threats and Demands: Any form of threat, whether it’s about exposing compromising material or causing harm to you or your loved ones, should be taken seriously.
  • Reluctance to Meet in Person: If the person you’re communicating with avoids meeting in person or provides excuses to not reveal their identity, this could indicate ulterior motives.
  • Platform Switching: If someone initiates contact on one platform but pressures you to move conversations to another platform, especially if it offers increased privacy or anonymity, exercise caution. Perpetrators often aim to control the environment.
  • Inconsistent Identity: If the person’s stories, photos, or details about their life don’t align or seem inconsistent, it could indicate a fake identity. Images and videos can be altered or stolen, and don’t assume they’re proof of someone’s identity.
  • Too Good to Be True: While compliments are normal, excessive flattery might be a tactic to manipulate emotions and lower defenses. Be cautious of individuals who offer gifts, money, job opportunities, or promises that seem too good to be true.
  • Unwillingness to Share Personal Information: If the person avoids sharing their own personal details and only focuses on obtaining your information, it’s a potential sign of manipulation.