The Roswell Police Department urges parents to be aware of their children’s activity on social media after two local cases have been reported to RPD involving teens being asked by unknown people for nude pictures of themselves. The teens who provided pictures to the strangers were then told the pictures would be sent on social media to their family and friends, as well as posted on social media for others to see, if the teens did not send these people money using an online money-transfer app or other system.
These two local attempts at extortion and blackmail through social media involved victims who are ages 15 and 17. Each incident occurred in March and involved the social-media platforms Instagram and Snapchat.
Federal law enforcement authorities confirmed to RPD they have seen similar incidents occurring throughout the country, often targeting children in middle school or high school freshmen. These cases have often resulted in a high level of emotional distress for the victims regardless of whether or not their pictures were actually posted to or sent through social media.
RPD reminds parents to take steps to protect their children from online predators. Setting up appropriate social-media guidelines and restrictions, and letting children know what is acceptable when it comes to who they communicate with and the topics they discuss online, can be a good start. There are also numerous apps that allow parents to monitor and control their children’s online activity.
Anyone who encounters these types of social-media incidents or other inappropriate or illegal online activity can report it to RPD. People can also submit information to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.