It’s an issue they say is happening across the state and something every parent should be aware of.
Police are calling this crime “sextortion,” which is basically where strangers are targeting teenagers on Instagram, asking for explicit photos and then demanding money from the teenager to keep the picture private.
Woodbury police are investigating several cases of this crime right now.
Detectives say these online poachers are mostly targeting teenage boys. They are posing as women as asking for sexualized photos.
Once they get these photos they demand anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000 from the teen or they send the picture out to people this teen follows on Instagram.
Investigators say all parents of teens, not just Woodbury parents, should be aware of this scam and offer some tips for parents when it comes to talking to their kids about social media safety.
“When you do have those conversations is to make sure that when they do have a social media page, that is marked private,” Imran Ali, assistant criminal division chief for the Washington County Attorney’s Office, said. “Make sure to never accept a friend request from somebody unless they know them, to have no personal information on there, like their address, where they live, their city, what school they go to and to really make sure that anybody that they communicate with is a known individual.”
Investigators also say that asking a child not to have a social media presence is the worst thing you can possibly do because it’ll encourage them to find a way without being open with their parents about it.
Police have not shared any arrest details yet but did say they’ve been able to link some of the IP addresses of those behind the scam to Nigeria.