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State Police Warn Parents Amid Investigation Of Teens Being Sexually Targeted Online

Predators have been using social media apps to target teens before blackmailing them, state police are cautioning.
Predators have been using social media apps to target teens before blackmailing them, state police are cautioning. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Predators in New York have been utilizing social media to bilk teen victims into sending sexually explicit photos that are then used to blackmail parents, police are cautioning.

An alert was issued by New York State Police following multiple cases of teens being targeted by criminals while online, including one incident that led to a teenager committing suicide.

Police said that the suspects have been locating teen victims on social media, where they befriend them and gain their trust. Once trust is established, investigators said that the suspects ask for photos or video of the teen, “usually provocative in nature.”

According to police, once the videos are secured by the predators, they demand payment, sometimes thousands of dollars, or they threaten to release the images on social media.  

“Talk to your children about going online and set rules about where and when they are surfing or chatting,” State Police advised parents. “Monitor your children’s social media accounts.”

State Police also had advice for kids and teens online:

  • “Be careful what you post. Never share personal information online. This includes full name, address, or phone number. 
  • Don’t accept friend requests from strangers.  
  • Don’t open emails, click on links, or download anything from unknown senders. 
  • Never share photos online or through texts or direct messages with people you don’t know.  
  • If you, or someone you know is having thoughts of harming yourself, talk to someone who can help.
  • If you feel you have been a victim of this type of crime, contact your local police."

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