Sextortion Attempts in Erie
The Erie Police Department is warning the public about two recent incidents in the past couple of weeks involving sextortion. The cases involve an adult coercing teenagers through social media into producing sexual images and videos online. Through deception, manipulation, money and gifts, or threats, the predator convinces the young person to record explicit acts. When the victim starts to resist requests, the predator will use threats of harm or exposure and demand payment.
The Erie Police Department would like to share these tips:
• Be selective about what you share online. If your social media accounts are open to everyone, a predator may be able to figure out a lot of information about you.
• Be wary of anyone you encounter for the first time online. Block or ignore messages from strangers.
• Be aware that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they claim to be.
• Be suspicious if you meet someone on one game or app and they ask you to start talking to them on a different platform.
• Be willing to ask for help. If you are getting messages or requests that don’t seem right, block the sender and report the behavior.
This is a serious challenge facing today’s youth. Photos and videos are impossible to retract. Taking an intimate ‘selfie’ and sharing it in a private message may seem harmless, however these photos can easily be shared and could resurface later in life, or in the form of extortion. The rule of thumb is if you do not know this person in real life, do not engage in anything you yourself wouldn’t post for all to see. For more information about sextortion, including resources for teens, schools, parents and caregivers visit the FBI sextortion webpage: https://www.fbi.gov/…/stop-sextortion-youth-face-risk-onlin…
If you have any information about this crime, or have been approached by a similar predator recently please contact the Erie Police Department dispatch at 303-441-4444.
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