NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The FBI is working to protect children from online predators.
“What is happening very commonly is your minor children that are getting enticed to send inappropriate images of themselves to someone that they think is a romantic interest,” FBI supervisor Christopher Garrett said, “but they’ve never met that person. They don’t know who they really are, and next thing you know, they’ve now sent the images of themselves to someone that is now going to use those images against them.”
The practice is a form of blackmail known as “sextortion.”
“Now,” Garrett said, “they’re going to say, ‘Hey, I have a list of all your contacts and Instagram, I’m going to blast out all of these images that you’ve taken of yourself. I’m going to do this, or I’m going to send it to your school, Unless you find a way to give me $500, $1000, $2000.’”
Garrett says “sextortion” is very prevalent in the Lowcountry.
“It’s a complaint I think we see in my office about two to three times a week,” he said, “and those are people who are voicing it. More than likely, you know someone that has been through this with their child.”
Now, he wants to provide families with a plan to prevent their children from being targeted.
“Having those conversations with your kid is probably the first step,” Garrett said. “Second step is maybe having some rules about how children and minors are allowed to have access to your smartphones, your tablets and your laptops. Make sure the kids don’t ever send any money. If someone’s asking you for money to do this, don’t do it.”
Henry Grace of the Latin Exchange Club says Wednesday’s presentation is sure to be informative.
“The things that they’re going to show you and talk about might surprise you,” Grace said. “They really put on a good presentation on a variety of subjects, but you will walk away a little changed. I guarantee it.”