Following Potsdam suicide, state police warn parents that criminals are targeting teens on social media
POTSDAM — Following the March 30 suicide of a Potsdam teen who was being extorted on Facebook, State Police are warning North Country parents and children of teens being targeted by criminals while online.
The father of a Potsdam teen who took his life after receiving an extortion threat is warning parents of the dangers of social media. For details, view earlier story,Investigators say the suspect(s) locate teen victims on social media, friending or following the teens, then gaining their trust. When trust is established, investigators say the suspects ask for photos and/or videos of the teen, usually provocative in nature. Once the videos are secured by these predators, they demand payment, sometimes thousands of dollars, or they threaten to release the images on social media.
In the recent Potsdam case, a 15-year-old took his own life after being told online that embarrassing photos of him would be circulated to his friends and throughout the internet unless he paid $3,500, his father said.
State Police offer the following internet safety tips, for teens, or anyone who goes online.
• 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.