by: WFXRtv.com Digital Desk
Posted: Mar 26, 2021 / 10:45 PM EDT
Updated: March 26, 2021 / 10:46 p.m. EDT
ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are warning residents of online dangers.
Acting United States attorney Daniel P. Bubar and Christopher R. Derrickson, assistant special adviser for the FBI in Richmond, want people to stay 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 events are now held online, making the need to be aware of the threats even greater. Parents need to know who their children are communicating with, which 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 US Attorney General and our partners at the FBI are doing our part to keep you safe, but we want parents, grandparents, and others to have as much information as possible in order to stay vigilant and protect their families as well. “
Daniel P. Bubar, Acting Attorney in the United States
FBI agent in charge, Derrickson, urges parents to speak 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 gender, race, education, geography, or family wealth. Any child can be a victim of sexual exploitation. The FBI is determined to work with our law enforcement partners to educate adults and children, investigate allegations, provide adequate victim services, and track down predators. Rapid reporting is key to stopping these crimes, catching the perpetrator, and preventing further victimization. The FBI relies on community support, especially with such sensitive investigations. Please do not be afraid or ashamed to contact the authorities or tell a trusted adult to report suspected or actual exploitation. ”
Christopher R. Derrickson, Special Agent in Charge
On March 4, US prosecutors pursued a Roanoke man who had communicated with a 12-year-old. The man owned dozens of videos and hundreds of pictures of child pornography. He later admitted owning child pornography, communicating with a 12-year-old child, and using screen recording software to record his screen during video chats with the minor. In these video chats, he reportedly exposed himself and persuaded the minor to be sexually explicit.
MORE: Roanoke man sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on child seduction and child pornography charges
The incumbent SAC Derrickson gave some advice on how parents can keep their children safe while browsing the Internet:
Advice for children::
- Be selective about what you share online.
- Be careful with people you meet online for the first time – block / ignore messages from strangers.
- Know that people can pretend they’re online. Pictures can be changed or stolen.
- Be suspicious if you meet someone in an 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 published permanently. Nothing “disappears” online, and once you’ve sent it, you have no control over where it goes.
- Be ready to ask for help.
Advice for adults::
- Maintain active commitment to your children. Open the door and encourage an open and honest conversation about online activity and potential victimization.
- Limit internet usage.
- Shut down the WiFi during the night hours.
- Check the settings on social media and make sure they are set to the strictest possible level.
- Samples and other devices.
- Know which apps are being used.
- Know who is communicating with your child.
- Pay attention to what is being downloaded.
- Know passwords for electronic devices.
If you feel like you have been a victim of online threats or seen something online that you believe is illegal, report it immediately by calling your local police department or contacting the FBI at:
- FBI Richmond 804-261-1044
- FBI Tip-Line, 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324)
- FBI Online Tipline: https://tips.fbi.gov/
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