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ATLANTA () — Agents say they have seen a 10 fold increase in cyber crime against children over the last year from online trafficking to sextortion — and say criminals are not slowing down this summer.
The FBI says cyber criminals are luring children into dangerous places online – sending things like malware, texting for payments – and taking advantage of children’s social media engagement over the summer.
“We are also seeing college students being recruited to move money to become a money launderer and open a bank account so if you get those and it sounds too good to be true, just stay away from it,” explained Special Agent Aaron Seres of FBI Atlanta.
Investigators say many of the offenders are outside of the US and target kids and teens through social media apps and online video games.
“You are taking more risk on if you did banking on the streets,” said Seres. “Password protect with your cellular data but if you do use wifi maybe try to VPN to be safer.”
They said students become easy targets because they text with “abbreviations” or lingo that may be familiar to them to get their identity or money.
FBI Atlanta Specialist Jenna Silletto said, “We are seeing a lot of hacking so strong passwords for all cyber crimes. Set your privacy settings to the highest so random people cannot message you and that you are not in contact with.”
That’s why the FBI has a new “Surf Online Safely” program for students in grades 3 through 8 to help students on malware, cyberbullying and digital safety.
Investigators say – never pay money or transfer money – because criminals will continue to ask and extort more but instead tell your parents or tell a trusted adult and report it to the police.
The FBI says you should download the “Child ID App” which allows you to store pictures and vital details about your child so you can quickly share with police if your child goes missing.