The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about a recent extortion scam that is targeting children.

Over the last week, the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office has been getting reports of local kids being extorted over social media. In a statement shared on their Facebook page, they explain that the "perpetrator befriends the child posing as someone their age on social media."


The new social media acquaintance then pivots and asks the child to share "explicit photos of themselves."

According to the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office, when the photos are sent to the perpetrator, they then blackmail the child.

They explain further writing:

Once the photos are shared they then blackmail the child by telling them that the photos will be posted/shared with others unless money is paid. In some cases the perpetrator asks for the money in the form of gift cards, because they know that many kids still have unspent cards from Christmas and using them is less likely to alert parents and other authority figures.

The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office is reporting that in one case of social media extortion, the explicit photos were shared when money and or gift cards weren't given to the perpetrator.


While it should be a constant conversation with families, the Sheriff's Office is asking parents and guardians to speak with their children about navigating social media safely. They ask you to bring attention to the recent extorting incidents and have a plan in place on how to stay safe online.

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If you or anyone you know has any information regarding the social media extortion cases mentioned above, call Detective Cohen at 845-486-3820 or email at There is also a tip line and email that will keep your information confidential: call 845-605-CLUE (2583) or email

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