Scary Snapchat Scam Linked to Sex Trafficking [UPDATE]
What started as a big concern for people in Lawrence, Massachusetts, has now made its way to Evansville.
In case you missed it, a Facebook post made by a Massachusetts woman has now started getting some attention. Within the last 24 hours, this post has been circulating around social media:
The post has been shared almost 100,000 times, and for good reason. While these types of things can sometimes be a scare tactic or a prank, tons of people have backed up the post, saying they've experienced it themselves.
The original poster said, "So there’s a sex trafficking ring going on in Lawrence, Mass. If you get a random person who tries adding you on Snapchat this morning and it says “added by search” it’s the trafficking ring and they’re using snapchats to locate girls. I received one this morning, didn’t accept because I don’t accept people that I don’t know because of this reason. Be safe!"
Local police in Lawrence, MA, have since announced that there is no evidence of a sex trafficking ring being present in Lawrence but the fact remains that social media can be a very scary thing and we should always be smart about what we post and who we share information with.
The LPD said in a statement, “The LPD has been made aware of a social media scam referring to sex trafficking. There is no substance to this matter. As always the public should use caution when responding to, or clicking on posts from individuals they do not recognize.” Snapchat also stated that the allegation appears to be a case of disinformation.'"
The post has also been shared several times between local accounts, with some of my personal friends and even family members saying they they've also experienced this within the last few days.
Apparently once the user "adds you by search," they will start sending you photos of women in lingerie. In turn, your acceptance of their friend request and chat could help them find your location.
Use this as a reminder to make sure your privacy settings are intact on your Snapchat account, and do not accept requests from someone you don't immediately recognize. Double check that your location settings are only available for friends to view, and change your password to your account if you've come across this already.