FBI warns of criminal group seeking ‘chaos’ and harm to children

The FBI is continuing to warn families about a disturbing online group that seeks to cause children and teenagers to harm themselves.

“This group, which could be tens of thousands of people across the world, aim for nothing but to cause chaos,” said Christopher Giordano, Assistant Special Agent-In-Charge of FBI Pittsburgh’s Criminal Branch.

Giordano first spoke with Channel 11 about the alarming trend last fall and stated during a press conference on Friday that more and more cases have emerged in the months since. He called the situation among the most disturbing things he’s witnessed within a 20-year career.

>> Violent online groups targeting minors to record self-harm, child sexual abuse material, FBI says

The sinister online group is called “764″ and is comprised of both teenagers and adults.

The perpetrators seek out victims on social media and online gaming platforms, grooming them until a romantic relationship is formed. The criminals will often solicit sexual photographs and use threats, blackmail and manipulation to coerce the victim into harming themselves. The ultimate goal of 764 is to prompt individuals to commit suicide, Giordano said.

“This is almost like a menu of sexual depravity.”

While Giordano stated that FBI Pittsburgh has not seen a local case resulting in suicide, agents are investigating these disturbing acts within our region.

“We are doing everything in our power to identify these [criminals] across our area of responsibility, but we can’t do this alone. We need the help of the public, we need parents to pay attention to what their children are doing online.”

Several arrests have been made nationwide. In Hawaii, an 18-year-old man was arrested, facing child pornography charges.

Another perpetrator was arrested in Michigan.

For more resources and information on spotting these crimes and for details on reporting tips, click here.

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