Parents Lessons Learned from these real cases
SWATTING – Child Playing Fortnite is Swatted
If your child is online streaming via Online Gaming, YouTube, etc. then you need to know what SWATTING is. We handled a case where a CHILD asked his parents if he could start his own YouTube channel to “live” stream himself playing Fortnite. The child had been live streaming his Fortnite play for about a year and he had approx 350 “followers” on his “channel.” Not bad….. for a CHILD; until one day he got paired in a Fortnite game with a “Famous” Fortnite player X (I’m leaving his name out here.) The CHILD was in amazement that he was playing with X and the game was all “live.” Fortnite Superstar X encouraged all his “followers” to “follow” the CHILD’s channel. Over a 24-hour period, the CHILD went from 350 “followers” to approx. 87,0000 followers! This did not go over too well with other “fortnite players” that were trying to get “discovered” and now this CHILD overnight has 87,000 followers. So what did they do…… THEY SWATTED THE CHILD’s Home! I will send out an email describing what happened and how to protect yourself. If you are not on the email list, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your name and email.
SEXTORTION – Online Apps used to Sextort Children
Boys/Teenagers: Today’s case I want to tell you about dating apps that are being used for Sextortion targeting teenage/college boys. Many of these cases appear to being run from the Philippines. Here is how it works: The Victim (your boy) is on a dating app and finds an attractive woman that he makes contact with. It is actually a woman that is in on the scam. After they chat, she typically shares some revealing photos and ask for some photos in return. The unsuspecting boy doesn’t realize that he is now in the midst of a sextortion case. The young lady now encourages him she wants to have Cybersex with him using and online video chat service like facetime/skype, etc.. The girl and the boy have “Cybersex” but what the boy doesn’t know is that it is being recorded and will soon be used to extort him for $$$$$. Soon the boy gets a message from a Guy stating that he wants $1500 (price varies here) or he will release the video of him to Porn Sites and his Friends/Family. Many Teenagers now fall victim to this because they don’t have the money… some resort to other crimes to pay the ransom in fear of telling the authorities or their parents. Others… are “forced” to send more photos of themselves in exchange
1. Teenagers should not be on dating apps but unfortunately many are.
2. Educate your older kids about these types of cases.
3. Stop Communication immediately and secure your social media accounts by changing your
4. Alert the authorities and DO NOT DELETE any correspondence from the bad guy.
FAKE NUDE PICS – New Revenge Porn Tactic with new twist
I don’t even know where to start with this one. Revenge “porn” pics have been around for a while now. Basically, what happens is two people are in a relationship and they exchange nude pics with each other but then when the relationship goes south……. one of the partners begins to threaten, blackmail, extort the other person for a number of various reasons; or basically just to destroy their lives because they are evil. There is now a NEW TWIST to this where your child or you never took the Nude Pics to begin with, but a picture of you or your child is sent to you. There you or your child are……naked doing pornographic things. How can this be?
Here is how it works: Evil person downloads/screen shots their favorite picture of you from your IG/FB/Library account. The picture they have of you is innocent, maybe a selfie on Vacation. Evil person goes to (WEBSITE)… I am not going to enter the site here because I really don’t want to promote it in any way. They choose what type of Pornographic Picture they want of you, click a button, pay their $12 and they soon get a very real looking picture of you nude doing (use your imagine here) pornographic act. Evil person now contacts you or your child and begins the extortion or he/she will distribute the photo out to all of your Social media channels/contacts. The pictures are very real looking and the Victim is left only to deny, but the damage is done.
YOUTUBE – 10-year old boy learns how to Spoof a Bomb Threat Call
Case Today – 10 year old boy watching his favorite fortnite player on YouTube who encouraged his audience to buy VBUCKS for the latest “Battle Pass.” The Boy asked his parents for the $$$. Parents said, No More Money for fortnite you need to get a job! 10 year old boy, took his
parents advice to heart and called up a local dog walking agency and applied for a dog walking job over the phone. The Dog Walking agency found out how old the boy was and kindly told him he needed to be 16. The boy hung up the phone and called back the agency from the same phone and told them he was 16 this time….. the caller recognized the boy’s voice and turned him down again and told him not to call back again. The 10 year old boy… upset took a lesson that he had learned from watching another “youtuber” about “spoofing phone calls for bomb threat pranks” and called in a bomb threat to the business. The business owner recognized the boys voice again so it was an easy case to resolve……. however, this boy was 10 and had no idea what the magnitude of his bomb threat truly was. Not to mention….. his parents had no idea what content their 10 year old was watching on YouTube. Yes this actually became a police matter.
1. Make sure you have the appropriate parental controls on your kids’ device for YouTube. It filters pretty good but not perfect.
2. Actually watch a few of the episodes from every youtuber your child is following/watching.
3. Parents have to approve all “youtubers” prior to your child watching them.
SPOOFING – App used to “spoof” a phone number for a false Bomb Threat
Today’s Case – “Spoofing” – Phone or Caller ID spoofing is very popular amongst kids with cell phones. Phone Spoofing is typically a phone app that is download from iTunes or Google Play. There are several to choose from. Once the app is downloaded here is how it works. I enter a phone number that I want to reflect that the call was made FROM. Then I dial the phone number of the person that I want to call. When the person answers the phone call the Caller ID will show the “spoofed phone number” that the originating person entered. Here is just one example how it was used in a recent case:
Matt downloaded the “spoofing” app on his phone because he was mad that his ex-girlfriend “dumped” him for Chris. Matt …. called in a “fake bomb threat” to the High School they were all attending using Chris’s Phone number with the Spoofing app. The school captured Chris’s phone number as the person responsible for the bomb threat. The police were notified, Chis was interviewed, Parents notified, School lock down, etc…After the investigation police were able to clear Chris as being the one responsible for the threat, but “Matt” got away with it initially, but Police eventually caught him and he was arrested.
FORTNITE – 11-year old boy “googled” assault rifles at School
A 11-year old boy was at school and finished his assignment early so he decided to “google” the names of weapons that he had learned in Fortnite on a school computer. Here is what his Google Search criteria looked like….. Assault Rifle, Tactical Shotgun, Pump Shotgun, Sniper, Someone Exploded. The school had software that alerted the Administration about the flagged search criteria. The boy was detained by School Admin and the police were notified. The Police now had to interview the boy who is hysterical, talk to the devastated parents, and do a “roll back” to the boy’s home to ensure it was safe. You get the point…. good kid, bad choice… educate your kids.
IPHONE ATM CASE – Siri used to steal money
Man left his phone at the airport bar and boarded his flight before he realized his phone was missing. Bad Guy (BG) picks up his phone from bar, which has his ATM card in a small pocket behind the phone. The phone has a LOCKED screen. BG says, “Hey Siri” the phone comes to life. Text my wife… “Hey I think I’m going crazy but I can’t remember our pin number and I forgot to get cash.” The Victim’s wife unknowingly sends their bank Pin # to the BG who then goes to the nearest ATM and withdrawals $500.00. Now I know you think no one would fall for this, but I actually had a few friends try it and the significant other did text the pin # about 50% of the time, but I won’t name names here….lol.
1. Turn Off the Preview Text function
2. Disable “Siri” with a locked screen function
3. Careful how you label your contacts, Wife, Son, daughter, work, etc….
OMEGGLE – 13 year old girl uses popular Sexual Predator App
Case today involved 13 year old girl who met some boys on Fortnite. The “boys” from Fortnite moved the online gaming to a chat room using https://www.omegle.com/. This is an online anonymous chat software/app that is never good. On their website the company States, “
Predators have been known to use Omegle, so please be careful. Omegle is one of my TOP 5 Apps/software that parents should ban from the home. Once the “boys” had established the online private chat with the girl. Inappropriate pics were sent to the girl.
1. Do not allow Fortnite chat with anyone that you personally do not know.
2. Do not allow private chat room chat.
3. Do not allow Omegle in any form.
INSTAGRAM SPAM ACCOUNT – Spam accounts. What you need to know.
I rec’d a call from a Stressed out Parent last night seeking some advice. The parent found their 14 year old boy’s IG (Instagram) “Spam” account. When reviewing the Spam account there were “inappropriate” pics of a young girl in panties and bra. The parent was shocked that her son had a “Spam” account and that he was very open or forth coming that he had it (no big deal mom, everyone has it). The parent was also shocked at the pics that this one young girl was posting and what made it worse is that her son had “liked” the photos. What is a parent to do?
1. Unlike the photos – which the young lady will get a notification that the photo was unliked,
which is a good thing.
2. Remove him the “Spam” group
3. Report the information to the girl’s parents (Some people
do not feel comfortable with this process)
4. If they are nude pictures of a minor report it to the police
and they will take it from there.
5. I am not a big fan of the anonymous approach….
6. Contact me and I will handle it.
7. Sit down and educate your kid on his behavior and how his “liking” an inappropriate photo of
a child could be condoning such behavior.
8. NO ELECTRONICS FOR HIM FOR LIFE……
SNAP CHAT CASE – Nude pics hacked from young girls SnapChat account
Today’s case a 21-year old man “hacked” into several teenage girls (13-18 years old )SnapChat accounts and stole their private nude pictures and then used them to extort the children. The man after gaining access to their nude pics, created “fake” instagram accounts where he then contacted them to begin the extortion. First, he sent the girls their own nude pics and then demanded more nude pics or he would release their nude pics to the world. Remember, “Hacking” is generally not like the movies portrays it. Data Breaches of companies that have all of our personal information happen daily; which in turn gets posted on the Dark Web. Hacking may be as simple as just entering your password that was posted on the Dark Web.
1. Use a Password Manager. Read my blog post on Password Managers.
FAMOUS YOUTUBERS – Prominent Pokémon Accused of being Sexual Predators.
Parents remember just because they are “famous” Youtubers don’t assume they are upstanding citizens or role models for your children and that they will not victimize and take advantage of your children. Stay diligent and engaged…. https://gamerant.com/pokemon-youtube-sexual-predators-thek…/
CYBER FLASH – Iphone Airdrop Settings
This one goes out to you IPHONE users. This is a new/old phenomenon now called Cyber Flashing. Here’s how it works. You are sitting at let’s say Starbuck sipping your Carmel Latte and all of the sudden your phone is bombarded with “D*ck” pics… WTH….. you assume you are being pranked by that ONE FRIEND we all have. Then you realize, this is not a Joke and you have been a victim of Cyber Flashing!
Cyber Flashing…..is when your Airdrop Setting is set to Receive “Airdrops” from everyone. This can be illegal depending on what you are sending obviously and under what circumstances. However, it is becoming more popular with kids today, both receiving and sending.
Check your child’s Airdrop Settings and yours to. Set your Airdrop settings to either
CONTACTS ONLY or RECEIVING OFF. Here’s how to change your settings.
FAKE INSTAGRAM PROFILE – Impersonating Instagram Accounts
Imagine your child’s phone starts to ring and his/her friends are saying “Tim, why did you tag me in that? I don’t want any part of that.” Tim has no idea what they are talking about. Tim’s friend sends him a screen shot of an Instagram Account that is in his name; Timjohnsonspam and shows the post to the account….. You have been added to the Fat Bitch List, Press the picture to see more Fat F*cks. Then several of his school mates are tagged in the group. The Post goes Viral and Tim, Your Child, has nothing to do with it. Someone, set up a FAKE instagram account in his name and he’s calling you for help.
What should or can a parent do?
DARK WEB – The Onion Router; Gateway to the Dark Web
If your child is using (TOR) or you see this logo. Then they are up to no good… TOR is the “browser,” think google Chrome, Firefox, etc. to the DARK WEB. The TOR Project, began in the 1990’s as a project that provides anonymity online. The way it works, is it “routes” internet traffic through a weave of Network Internet Protocols that hides the user’s true location. When you “Browse” using the TOR Browser, your IP Address may point that you are in Russia, when in reality you are in Los Angeles. The TOR Browser is the door or gateway to the Dark Web. If you see this Browser on your child’s computer, huge Red Flag!
TEXTED THREAT CASE – Iphone Text Shortcut Setting used for Bomb Threat
Put on your investigator hat. A GROUP text message was sent out from a student’s phone that read, “I have a bomb.” One of the students on the Group chat reports the text to a teacher. The teacher find’s the student who sent the text message and seizes his phone. The teacher looks at the kid’s phone and the text is on his phone. The Teacher calls the police. The Student is adamant that he did not send the text and that no one else has had his phone, but has no other explanation.
What do you think happened?
I will tell you tomorrow…
BUSINESS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT TAKEOVER– What you need to know
A former Manager of a business was tasked with the responsibilities of establishing and managing all of the business social media accounts. The owner had to terminate the Manager after 5 years of employment but forgot one thing in the process. The owner did not change the passwords of the Business Social Media accounts, but the Ex-Manager sure did and began to engage in a “smear” campaign of the Business’s Reputation. The Business was taking a major hit and went to the Police. Do you have a business/school that uses social media? As a former Franchise Owner, mark me down as guilty on this one, just because I never really thought about it. This case became a
nightmare because the ex-manager said that she was the “owner” of the account. She established all of the accounts, she was the sole user, and the business did not have any written agreement with her establishing ownership and user guidelines.
Share with anyone that owns a business/school or any other establishment that allows employees to use Social Media account permissions.
VIDEO CAMERA CASE – Teacher’s IPhone Hacked and photos stolen
A teacher leaves her phone on her desk and leaves the room. A student quickly goes and grabs the teacher’s phone as his buddy goes to the door to be the look out. The Student enters the Teachers passcode of her phone and he’s in. The Student immediately goes to the teacher’s Photos and starts franticly searching. Jackpot! He finds some compromising/embarrassing photos of the Teacher that she would never share with the student body. Over the next several days…. her photos go viral.
So How did the Student get the teacher’s passcode, right? Here’s how…. Two Students working together were video recording the teacher in “slow motion” mode. They were able to zoom in and read her passcode without her knowledge.
1. Never leave your cell phone.
2. Always Stay Alert…even in what you believe is your safe zone.
3. Never Store anything on your phone that you wouldn’t be comfortable reading in the LA Times the next day.
4. Private Information should be stored in a Vault App on your phone which is encrypted.
DOXING CASES – Your personal information posted to the Dark Web
What is doxing? It is the practice of taking you or your child’s personal information and posting it on a public forum. The information generally includes this type of information: Name, DOB, Email, Phone number, Social Media Accounts, User Names, Passwords, Home Address, Work Address, relatives. Individuals/Groups are then PAID money to create havoc on the person that was “doxed.” For example, take over their social media accounts; turn off the electricity in their home; extort them for $$$ or nude pictures, SWAT them (we discussed in a previous post). Doxing Victims used to be reserved for Law Enforcement, Public Officials, Hacker Groups, etc… but unfortunately more and more teenagers are starting to become victims of Doxing. RECOMMENDATIONS: The answer is long and somewhat complicated so I will address how to protect yourself in an upcoming newsletter article via email.
TEACHER INSTAGRAM SPAM ACCOUNTS
We covered the SPAM accounts for kids last month, but here is another TWIST for these Instagram Spam accounts where kids are now getting into a new kind of trouble. Came across a case where there was a TEACHER INSTAGRAM spam account, set up without the teacher’s knowledge. Several students have access to the account which was set up anonymously and without the Teacher’s knowledge or permission. The account consists of several good and mostly demeaning posts about the teacher including several “surreptitious” pictures of the teacher, without his knowledge. Many of the pictures are not flattering. Unfortunately, these SPAM accounts for teachers are more common that I thought. Talk to your kids about these accounts and make sure they are not involved.