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FBI warns parents about growing trend on social media

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I’m a Ft. Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer, and  I would like to alert parents of young girls: Warn your daughters (and friends with young girls) to be very aware of all the sickness that exists with social media and cyberspace predators, as you’ll see from the article below, ok? Fyi:

FBI warns parents about growing trend on social media

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – FBI agents are warning parents about a cold and calculated crime that targets young women by preying on their trust to extort sexually explicit images of them.

Recent sextortionist cases show one predator can have hundreds of victims.The crime of sextortion involves gaining someone’s trust and then threatening to ruin their reputation if they do not meet demands for sexually explicit pictures and videos.

It often starts with what appears as an innocent message from the new boy in town.

“It’s the grooming process online predators use. ‘We are going to be friends with you. We are going to have similar interests so we have something to talk about.'” FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said.

Christopher Patrick Gunn, 31, of Montgomery, AL, was just sentenced to 35 years for contacting hundreds of young girls between the ages of 9 and 16 across the country.  Agents said he used a common ruse.

Gunn used two principal schemes to obtain photos of these young girls in various states of undress.

The first scheme has been dubbed as “The New Kid Ruse.”

Under that scheme, Gunn contacted the minor victims by sending them a message over Facebook. He then pretended to be a new kid in town looking for friends. Once he had gained their trust through chatting, Gunn would ask the girls a series of personal questions, such as their bra sizes, their sexual histories and intimate details about their bodies.

When they had finished divulging that personal information, Gunn would then ask the girls to send him a topless photo.

If they refused, he would threaten to e-mail their intimate conversation to the school principal or post it on Facebook for everyone to see.

In the second scheme — dubbed “The Justin Bieber Ruse” — Gunn, pretended to be the teen pop idol Justin Bieber.  Once he had convinced the minor victims that he was, in fact, Bieber, Gunn would allegedly offer them free concert tickets, backstage passes, or some other fan-related benefits if they would agree to send him a webcam transmission or a photo of themselves with their breasts exposed.

The FBI says a teen posting a picture in a track uniform or football jersey not only tells strangers where they go to school but what sports they like to play.

Unknowingly, they may give a sextortionist just enough information to start an online friendship.  That information is then used to extort more sexually explicit pictures or videos, the FBI says.

Patton says teens should know everyone personally who makes it to their friend’s list or follows them online, because anyone can pretend to be something they are not.

FBI agents say if someone contacts them online and makes similar requests or asks similar questions, they should stop, block and report it.

That means don’t respond, block the person and report it to a trusted adult.

As for parents, they say you should talk with their children about predators and monitor their online presence.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

 

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About the Author:

John M. Castellano is a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney who has helped thousands of clients throughout Florida. While building a reputation as a premiere Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney, Mr. Castellano has worked tirelessly to develop strategies to best protect the rights of those arrested for DUI in Broward, Dade and West Palm. However, Mr. Castellano is not just a drunk driving lawyer. He has been a successful domestic violence attorney, drug trafficking attorney, as well as all other Felony and Misdemeanor cases.

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