Online extortion plot discovered at local high school
DORCHESTER, Mass. (WHDH) -- Administrators are warning students to protect themselves after a social media extortion plot was discovered at a local high school.
Boston College High School administrators contacted students' families to inform them of the apparent plot. The principal says a student is being extorted after sharing personal information with someone over social media.
School officials say a person using the name “Sarah John” friended a student on Facebook. Officials said “Sarah John’s” profile pictured made her appear as a teenage girl. “Sarah John” then secured some of the student’s personal information and threatened to post it online if the student did not pay.
The school sent a letter to parents, saying:
"We have contacted the police, and they are investigating. We spoke with the students [in seventh and eighth grades] regarding the incident [Wednesday] and will be discussing it with the high school student early next week."
According to officials, the same person friended other BC High students as well. Officials are urging students to make sure “Sarah John” is blocked from their Facebook profiles. They said they know of only one student being extorted thus far.
“Well I’m always telling my son to be careful about Facebook and not to friend people that he doesn’t know,” Jackie Oswald said. “You have to stay on top of what your children are doing and what they’re doing on Facebook.”
School officials in central Massachusetts were also dealing with a problem connected to Facebook this week. Seventeen current or former students at Bay Path Vocational Technical High School in Charlton say their pictures were stolen from Facebook and posted on a child pornography site.
Parents and students told 7News that keeping up with technology is difficult.
“It’s a tough world and there’s a lot of trouble out there,” Kevin Barry said.
“There’s a lot of predators out there so it doesn’t really surprise me that much,” said Jake Durkin, a BC High student. “But, we have a lot of kids at our school so there’s a lot of chances of it happening.”
Administrators say they don’t believe “Sarah John” is someone who actually lives in the United States. Officials are warning parents to make sure they talk to their children about privacy settings and they are only giving out information to people that they know.
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