Sick Online Predators Are Creating Fake Celeb Accounts To Trick Children Into Sending Nudes

Kids Online

Online predators have been using fake celebrity social media accounts to persuade children into sending nudes, authorities have cautioned.

“Identity assumption by child sex offenders is increasing quite steadily,” Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, who runs task force Argos, a specialist branch responsible for tracking online child exploitation in Queensland, Australia, told BBC News. 

According to BBC News, Detective Rouse led a recent investigation in which a 42-year-old man claimed to be Justin Bieber on a number of social media platforms in order to get indecent images of children. This man was eventually charged with more than 900 child sex offenses.

“The fact that so many children across the world could believe that they were talking to Justin Bieber and that Justin Bieber would make them do the things that they did, is really quite concerning,” Rouse told BBC News. “I think a re-evaluation of the way we educate children about safe online behavior is really needed.”

A mother of an eight-year-old girl, who asked to remain anonymous, told BBC News that after her daughter had downloaded a new social media app, it took just two days for a predator to approach her.

“The first message was inviting you to enter a competition and to win it you get a five minute chat (with the celebrity),” she said. “And then the second message that came up was along the lines of ‘all you need to do is send me a photo of you naked or of your vagina.’ And then all these messages flew across the screen. Then the third message said ‘don’t worry about it. All the girls are sending me these photos. Just do it. It’ll be our secret’. And then the last message was ‘do it now.'”

In addition, Rouse warned parents about the dangers of Musical.ly – a social media platform that launched in 2014.

“Lots of child sex offenders are utilizing Musical.ly to groom children. That’s a very well-known international fact, believe it or not,” he said.

Musical.ly allows its users to create 15-second video clips to go with their favorite songs. Most teens use the app to film themselves lip-syncing to top hits before sharing the clip online.

According to Daily Mail, the Twitter account @PrvtHarryStyles claimed to belong to the former 1D star, with more than 10,000 followers.

Eventually, Styles’ sister, Gemma Styles, stepped in, tweeting the following message to his followers:

Sad that I even have to tweet this but for my own conscience I don't see an alternative. Young girls don't need this.

— Gemma Styles (@GemmaAnneStyles) February 16, 2017

Sadly some people will just believe what they want to believe, but what else can I do 🤷🏼‍♀️

— Gemma Styles (@GemmaAnneStyles) February 16, 2017

“For people asking @PrvtHarryStyles is NOT a real account. Do not send pictures of anything else. Stay sharp, stay suspicious, stay safe,” Styles wrote.

The account is now suspended.

  • 10614935101348454