United States Attorney’s Office, FBI Warns Residents of Online Dangers | USAO-WDVA
ROANOKE, Virginia – As the world continues to operate in a more virtual environment due to COVID-19 restrictions, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar and Acting Special Agent Christopher R. Derrickson, Division of Richmond FBI remind people to continue to be vigilant when it comes to keeping your family safe online.
“The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with our community. Many of our school, work and social activities now take place online, which makes it even more necessary to be aware of the threats posed, ”Acting US Attorney Bubar said today. “Parents need to know who their children are communicating with, what apps they are using, and whether the games they are playing have messaging or chat functionality. Predators can use all of these mechanisms to infiltrate our lives. The United States Attorney’s Office and our FBI partners are doing our part to keep you safe, but we want parents, grandparents, and others to have as much information as possible to stay vigilant and protect too. their family.
Acting FBI Special Agent Derrickson urges parents to talk to their children about the dangers of the internet and what to do if someone approaches them with an inappropriate request.
“Sextortion is not a crime defined by sex, race, education, geography or family wealth – any child can be a victim of sexual exploitation. The FBI is fully committed to working with our law enforcement partners to educate adults and children, investigate allegations, provide appropriate victim services and prosecute predators, ”Special Agent said today. acting in charge of Derrickson. “Prompt reporting is essential to stop these crimes, capture the perpetrator and prevent further victimization. The FBI relies on help from the community, especially in these types of sensitive investigations. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to contact authorities or tell a trusted adult to report suspected or actual abuse. ”
According to Acting US Attorney Bubar, it is unfortunate that individuals contact minors online and attempt to extort them, looking for inappropriate images or videos.
Last month, in federal court in Roanoke, the U.S. prosecutor’s office prosecuted a Roanoke man who had contacted a minor. For several months, the accused used online messaging applications to communicate with the victim, and several other minors, in order to convince them to send him naked photos and videos of themselves.
Acting, SAC Derrickson offered advice on how parents can keep their children safe while navigating the ever-expanding online world:
Advice for children:
- Be selective about what you share online.
- Be careful whoever you meet online for the first time – block / ignore messages from strangers.
- Realize that people can pretend to be anything / anyone online. Images can be altered or stolen.
- Beware if you meet someone on one app and they ask you to switch to another platform.
- Know and assume that any content you create online – text, photos / images or videos – will be made public permanently. Nothing “disappears” online, and once sent, you have no control over where it goes.
- Be prepared to ask for help.
Tips for adults:
- Maintain active engagement with your children. Open the door and encourage an open and honest conversation about online activity and possible victimization.
- Limit Internet use.
- Consider turning off Wi-Fi at night.
- Review the settings on social media and make sure they are set to the strictest level possible.
- Check phones and other devices on site.
- Know what apps are being used.
- Know who is communicating with your child.
- Be aware of what is downloaded.
- Know the passwords for electronic devices.
Most importantly, if you think you’ve been a victim or seen something online that you think is illegal, report it immediately by calling your local police department or contacting the FBI at:
- FBI Richmond 804-261-1044
- FBI Hotline, 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324)
- FBI Online Tipline: https://tips.fbi.gov/
There are also more resources available on fbi.gov/about/community-outreach/safe-online-surfing-sos-program and sos.fbi.gov/en/.