Montana Attorney General Tim Fox appeared on Thursday’s Talk Back talk show to discuss the issue.
“In the first six months of 2019, our office received 244 cyber tips,” said Fox. “Now, we follow up on all these and some of them are dead leads, but they could be about child pornography, child sex trafficking or any number of other criminal activities, but in the first six months of this year, we received 412 of these cyber tips.”
Fox urged parents and caregivers to monitor their children’s internet usage, especially certain programs or apps that could open the door to possible exploitation.
“If your kids have any of these apps on their mobile devices, Discord, KIK, or Snapchat, you need to check and see if they’re having individual conversations or group conversations,” he said. “We find that the bad actors, the criminals, typically infiltrate the group discussions and then have a sidebar with kids.”
In the first six months of 2019, our office received 244 cyber tips,” said Fox. but in the first six months of this year, we received 412 of these cyber tips.
Fox said cyber criminals are always on the lookout to lure children into dangerous activities.
“These criminals are very good at grooming kids, making them feel comfortable and making them feel special and then ultimately getting them to do something that they probably shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “Please communicate with your kids. If you suspect that there’s a cyber criminal that is engaging your children, don’t communicate with the predator yourself. Call law enforcement right away.”
Last year, the Montana Internet Crimes against Children Task Force members gave 239 school presentations across Montana, reaching more than 13,700 students.
For more information about online safety, visit NetSmartz.