NEW YORK STATE (WWTI) — New York State Police issued a warning for parents on Monday following cases of teens being targeted by criminals while online.

According to state police, investigators have reported suspects locating teen victims on social media, friending or following the teens and then gaining their trust. Once trust is established, state police added that the suspects ask for photos and/or videos of the teen, typically provocative.

State police warned that once videos are secured by predators, they demand payment, sometimes thousands of dollars, or threaten to release the images on social media. Authorities have reported that at least one of these cases has resulted in a teen victim committing suicide.

To combat and prevent these incidents, New York State Police have offered the following tips for teens, parents or social media users:


  • Discuss online safety with children
  • Set rules about where and when children are “surfing” or chatting
  • Monitor child social media accounts

Kids and teens:

  • Never share personal information online, including full name, address or phone number
  • Don’t accept friend requests from strangers
  • Don’t open emails, click on links or download anything from unknown senders
  • Never share photos online, through texts or direct message with strangers
  • If you feel you have been a victim of a cat fishing incident, contact your local police

Parents, teens and children are urged to contact one of the following if an individual is considering harming themselves:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • New York State Crisis Text Line: Text GOT5 to 741741