The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging adults and juveniles to be extra cautious when communicating with those whom they recently “befriended or met” online or when using a mobile app.
Recently, there has been a sharp increase in the number of citizens reporting to the agency that they have been coaxed into sending nude images of themselves to subjects they met online or through social media apps.
Communication between the local citizen and the unknown subject typically begins as being relatively normal but progresses rapidly with the unknown subject soliciting nude images.
If the request is met by the local citizen, the unknown subject immediately begins to demand money and claims the images will be posted elsewhere and / or shared with others if monies are not transferred accordingly.
In one recent specific case, Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division were able to successfully trace the “WhatsApp” spoofed number to an unknown predator in Pakistan.
Predators, both online and using mobile apps, are very real and seek to victimize adults and juveniles.
Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to speak with their children regarding online and apps safety.
The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office suggests the following talking points when discussing this topic with children.
• Avoid using suggestive screen names or photographs.
• Be wary if someone is flattering you online.
• Do not communicate with anyone who wants to get too personal.
• Never share nude images.
• Predators are not who they say they are.
• Tell a parent or trusted adult if uncomfortable.
If there is a possibility of imminent danger, parents and juveniles are strongly advised to immediately dial 911. To report cybercrimes against children and for much more information related to this topic, please visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline (missingkids.org).