The OSINT Effect
Law Enforcement

Wayne, A Small-Town Police Officer Combatting Child Sextortion

Saul Yardley
June 5, 2024
10-minute Read
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Between 2021 and 2023, the FBI and Homeland Security received over 13,000 reports of online sexual extortion, or ‘sextortion’, toward minors. FBI offices across the United States have begun to warn parents about potential sextortion scams as a growing threat to American children. 

These cases in which cybercriminals threaten to distribute private or sensitive material to gain sexual favors or money have created at least 12,600 young victims - and at least 20 suicides.

Financial sextortion is a crime. But it's not your fault. And you can get help. Report it to
Source: Report Sextortion Tips to TIPS.FBI.GOV

Wayne*, a young police officer from the East Coast of the US, reached out to share how OSINT Industries helps law enforcement to combat the sextortion epidemic. Working within his tiny local department means he is often left to work alone, with no detective support - making our platform crucial to his success story.

Empowered by OSINT Training

Hearing about third-party open-source investigations classes for law enforcement officers, Wayne was immediately interested. OSINT skills were ideal for his small-town department; to start, he and his fellow officers had been receiving anonymous threatening texts and phone calls they had no way of tracing. If no identifying data was readily available, there was no way of pursuing any traditional investigation.

Towards the end of the class, Wayne’s OSINT instructor explained to the attending officers he had a tool which his training provider intentionally leaves until the end of their classes - as it would render most of their previous techniques redundant. 

That tool was OSINT Industries.

After seeing how our platform worked, Wayne left the class wondering why OSINT Industries had not been included in his training at the police academy.

He immediately accessed our platform for his department.

Unmasking a Scammer

Returning to his office, Wayne began by testing OSINT Industries on his existing open cases. The first of these was a traditional scam case, and the second a sextortion case involving a minor.

In the first case, the victim had been defrauded out of a devastating $8000 online. Before discovering OSINT Industries, Wayne had no idea where to start, let alone how to build a convincing case against a scammer with so little data or evidence.

With a single email address and OSINT Industries, Wayne was able to find an Instagram account, a PornHub account, and a Google account with a bunch of reviews attached that provided geolocation of the suspect. Crucially, he found an address. This was information significant enough to identify, and advance proceedings against, the scammer.

Thanks to OSINT Industries, Wayne was now able to do his job as an officer: to file for a search warrant, and seek justice for the victim.

Unmasking a Sextorter

In Wayne’s second case, a minor had fallen victim to sextortion. 

Like many sextortion ‘marks’, the young victim had been coerced by a ‘sextorter’ - posing as a young woman - into producing and sending explicit images of himself. 

Again, Wayne and his department would typically have not known where to start with so little evidence or data. However, this time, Wayne had OSINT Industries at hand. He could use the email address the sextorter provided - not to request money, but to ensnare this cybercriminal instead.

Putting this email into OSINT Industries instantly kickstarted Wayne’s investigation. Although the information he received allowed him to build a profile of the sextorter, Wayne discovered that the individual was based in Nigeria. Sadly, without an existing extradition treaty with the US, no further investigation could be done. 

This young victim, however, was able to exit the scam: thanks to Wayne’s help, and OSINT investigation.

The Power of OSINT

The biggest transformation has been in Wayne’s forensic confidence.

Wayne, as a young officer in a small department, feels empowered by OSINT Industries with the tool to better serve his community and enforce the law. He feels that sextorters and scammers can no longer easily hide on the internet from the consequences of their actions.

In Wayne’s words, “OSINT Industries is now my step one.”

* Name changed to protect the identities of those involved.

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