BILLERICA (CBS) – It’s an emerging trend that has Billerica police sending a warning to students and parents. Someone is reaching out to girls using the Snapchat app and asking them to send inappropriate pictures of themselves.
“It’s very likely it’s someone local, somebody using Snapchat as a platform to create fake addresses claiming to be someone they’re not,” said Billerica Deputy Police Chief Roy Frost, including using the names of students already familiar to the victims.
Seven female students at both the middle and high schools say they’ve been targeted, and according to police one even responded. Classmates say it can happen too easily. “It’s easy to put a new identity on yourself,” said student Julie Dunback.
Police say the individual even used threats to pressure the students to comply, including the threat of posting pictures that might be photo shopped. Police sent a letter to parents reminding them to discuss the potential risks of social media with their children.
“It’s scary but it’s the day we live in now. You have to make sure you’re talking to them all the time about things like that,” said parent Karen Frawley.
Many students say it’s advice they try to take to heart. “If they’re asking inappropriate questions and you don’t feel comfortable you shouldn’t answer them,” said student Elizabeth Dunback.
Police say the students did the right thing by reporting what happened to the school resource officer. An investigation is now underway to try to determine who is behind it.