BILLERICA, MA (WHDH) - Police in Billerica are warning girls to exercise caution while using the popular social media app Snapchat after several students say they’ve received frightening threats from an unknown person demanding nude photos.
In recent weeks, seven girls from Billerica High School as well as Locke and Marshall middle schools told police they received messages on Snapchat asking for inappropriate images. The girls told police that the user promised to take action against them if the request was denied.
“The people have been told if they don’t send the photographs that they’re going to contact their friends and send photos that are supposedly of them that have been photoshopped of commercial related pornography,” Billerica Deputy Police Chief Roy Frost.
Theresa Costa, an 8th grade student, says her friend was targeted.
“They said send me a picture of your face, send me a mirror picture, send me a picture without your shirt,” Costa said.
Costa says the warning was scary.
“If you don’t, we’re going to threaten your family. I’m going to find you. I’m going to take you,” Costa said.
The messages came from two separate Snapchat accounts, using names of real students, according to investigators.
Police have cleared the actual students, saying they are not involved and that the accounts are fake.
Officials are now warning parents to talk to their children about how to safely use social media.
“I was pretty nervous because we just allowed my daughter to get Snapchat, and I didn’t want her to have it to begin with to be honest because that’s one that’s hard to monitor,” Laura Bishop said.
The difficult part about Snapchat is that the image only lasts for a short period of time and then deletes, but police are determined to find out who is behind the alarming activity. Police say the person could face child pornography charges.
“I think most people are smart enough that if someone says send me a naked picture of yourself, they’re not going to do that, but if they say they have a photo of you and they’ll put your head on a photograph that is inappropriate, the person feels pressure,” Frost said.
Out of fear, one girl sent a naked photo, according to police. Anyone who receives a request is asked to immediately notify their parents. Police have sent letters to families warning them of the recent incidents.
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