15-Year-Old Takes His Own Life After Falling Victim to Internet Blackmailing Ploy, Family Says
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
A 15-year-old from New York State died by suicide after his family says he was cyberbullied in a ploy that saw him blackmailed for $3,500, or else face the threat of “personal” photos of him being released onto the internet.
Riley Basford died March 30 at his home in Potsdam, New York after being “bombarded” with online threats.
After he signed up for Facebook, Riley received a friend request which appeared to come from a college student named “Megan.” The person on the other end of "Miller's" account wooed the teenager and convinced him to send explicit pictures of himself, his father, Darren, told Inside Edition.
“I was a 15-year-old boy, you get curious about a beautiful lady texting you,” he said.
But “Megan” was not real. Instead, the person threatened to leak the photos Riley sent them unless he paid them $3,500. Riley had fallen victim to a sextortion plot, which is a crime that is increasingly targeting young people, cyber expert Parry Aftab said.
“Sex crimes have doubled since the pandemic, [because] more kids are online,” Aftab said.
Darren Basford said his son, “lost his mind in embarrassment and fear and scared they kept hounding him.”
Two hours after the blackmail threats occurred, Riley died by suicide, his family said.
His mother could not hold back her grief as she emotionally told Inside Edition, “It breaks my heart I lost him. waking up without him is brutal.”
Riley’s family say they want their son's story out there as a warning to parents and teens everywhere.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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