Expert provides tips on how to protect against sextortion

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is encouraging parents and kids to remain vigilant about online activity as federal authorities search for sextortion victims.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said 31-year-old Lucas Chansler targeted teenage 350 teenage girls in an international sextortion case. But 240 victims are still unidentified.

The FBI said Chansler met his victims online, and though he was sentenced to 105 years in prison, there are many more online predators.

Lucas Chansler online IDs

A community educator with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC, said protection starts with having a conversation with your kids.

Khamali Brown’s oldest daughter is only three, but in a rapidly growing digital era, it’s get on board or get left behind.

“We’re thinking about getting her an iPad,” Brown said.

But Brown knows parents have to be extra vigilant of who is on the other side of the screen.

“Keeping them protected is just going to be so much more important because they are getting online and devices at such a young age,” she said.

A growing internet crime is sextortion. It stems from the word sexting.

“The kids all know what sexting is,” John Kelly with NCMEC said. “It’s when a person shares an inappropriate photo or risqué photo.”

Kelly said predators, like Chansler, will use those images for leverage.

One of Chansler’s victims reached out to NCMEC online cyber tip line. The FBI used her information to identify Chansler.

Retired detective Kelly said teenagers will likely not come to their parents, so he encourages them to find a trusted adult.

“Could be your favorite aunt; could be your friend’s mom,” he suggested.

Kelly also recommends parents checking their children’s technology.

“If things are going on with your daughter, I guarantee you that the answer is on her laptop or on her cellphone,” he said. “You better get in there and better find out what’s going on.”

NCMEC has a website that offers tips on how to discuss different topics such as cyber bullying, sexting and predators.

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