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12-year-old is latest victim in child porn extortion scam

Posted at 4:51 PM, Aug 24, 2016

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A 12-year-old girl is the latest victim in a nude photo extortion scam that seems to be targeting minors in Virginia Beach.

According to court documents, the 12 year old was contacted by an unknown person via Snapchat: a social media app which deletes photos and videos after 24 hours.

The unknown user told the 12 year old they had nude photos of the minor, and would “disseminate the photos via the internet” if the 12 year old did not pay money.

Social media expert Matt Paddock in Norfolk not only handles social media accounts for Grow, a digital ad agency, but he has two children of his own.

“Parents, teachers and other authority figures may not realize…how common it is that kids are sexting, and that they are sending nude photos of themselves,” Paddock told News 3’s Merris Badcock.

Paddock says he tells his kids and clients the same things. First, be suspicious of anyone you do not know, and do not overshare personal information.

Social media expert Matt Paddock talks to News 3's Merris Badcock about the child porn extortion case.

Social media expert Matt Paddock talks to News 3's Merris Badcock about the child porn extortion case.

“Probably the most important thing to convey to your kids,” Paddock said, “is that the same rules that would apply in any place in the real world, still apply on social media.”

Which means if you would not send nude photographs to a stranger you met on the street, do not send them to a stranger on the internet.

“[Minors] forget a photo that is sent on Snapchat, I can take a screen shot off my phone or my tablet or my computer. Then that is not disappearing in an hour or 24 hours. That’s there forever.”

We learned the name of the Snapchat user, and reached out to them, but they did not respond.

Police say the 12-year-old girl did the right thing by going to police.

According to officials with the Virginia Beach Police Department, the case is still under investigation.