MOLINE, Ill. — The threat of online predators is rising at an alarming rate. From 2018 to 2020 the amount of cyber crime involving children victims has more than doubled.
"Children and teenagers typically don't want to report these crimes. They are hesitant, they're embarassed and don't want to get in trouble. So we see a few cases trickling in here or there, but generally that's the tip of the iceberg." Said Special Agent Siobhan Johnson with the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Chicago.
When an agent learns of a crime the first priority is to learn whether or not the victim is in immediate/ongoing danger.
In some cases, agents say, an offender can have multiple online personalities with different names on different platforms, making it harder for them to tie a crime back to one person.
Like in the case of a former Middle School teacher from Missouri, investigators say had several snapchat accounts.
Chad Craghead is facing federal charges after the Department of Justice Says he posed as a teen online to convince two teen girls from Muscatine to send him nude photos and videos.
The FBI says a good point of defense to have as a parent is to be involved in your child's online usage. Have an idea of the sites they are using and who they are talking too. The FBI offers free online classes that teach cyber safety for children in grades 3-8.
Special Agent Siobhan Johnson said, "You wouldn't put your child behind the wheel of a car without education and you shouldn't do that with the internet either".
The FBI offers and encourages the public to share tips anytime they believe a crime has been committed. You can remain anonymous. You can file a cyber crime tip here.