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State Police warn of teens being targeted on social media

The New York State Police on Monday warned New Yorkers, especially parents, following cases of teens being targeted by criminals while online.

Investigators say the suspect(s) located teen victims on social media, friending or following the teens, then gaining their trust. When trust was established, investigators say the suspects asked for photos and/or videos of the teen, usually provocative in nature. Once the videos are secured, these predators demanded payment, sometimes thousands of dollars, or threatened to release the images on social media.

At least one case has resulted in a teen victim committing suicide — a 15-year-old in Potsdam on March 30.

State Police offer the following internet safety tips, for teens, or anyone who goes online.

For parents, State Police advise the following:

¯ 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, State Police advise the following:

¯ 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 messages 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.

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