NYSP warns parents of online ‘catfishing’ scams targeted towards teens on social media

National News

NEW YORK STATE (NEWS10) — New York State Police warned New Yorkers, specifically parents, about several cases of teens being target by criminals through social media while online. This practice is often referred to as “catfishing” which is when someone online pretends to be someone else in order to gain trust often with the goal of obtaining money or other services/goods.

Investigators said suspects are finding teen victims through social media, friending or following them, then gaining their trust. Once trust is established, investigators said suspects ask for photos/videos of the teen, generally provocative ones, then demand payment, sometimes thousands of dollars, otherwise threats are made to release the photos online via social media.

Sadly, police said at least one case has resulted in a teen victim dying of suicide.

State Police offered the following internet safety tips for teens or anyone who goes online. 

For parents:

  • Talk to your children about going online and set rules about where and when they are surfing or chatting.
  • Monitor your children’s social media accounts.

For kids and teens:

  • 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 message 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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