FBI Pittsburgh warns of internet predators targeting children on social media | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — FBI Pittsburgh is warning parents of internet predators targeting children. 

These are groups that have one goal: to force their young victims into dangerous and deadly behavior. 

It takes a lot for FBI Special Agent Christopher Giordano to be shocked or disturbed by a crime, but the activities of a particular group of online predators targeting kids are something else. 

“It’s an extremely disturbing topic,” he said. “In fact, in my 20 years in law enforcement, this is probably the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen.”

Giordano is talking about one group of online predators.

“Ultimately, pure chaos and the death of the person they’re targeting,” Giordano said.

One group identified as 764 is an unorganized collection of alleged predators who target the most vulnerable kids online. 

“An outcast amongst their peers, someone who may be socially awkward, may not fit into societal norms,” Giordano said.

The FBI said the suspects use classic grooming techniques for child abuse. The victims usually are girls but not exclusively. 

“They begin to groom them,” Giordano said. “They make them feel welcome, they tell them how pretty they are and ask for photographs.”

Once the predators get the pictures, usually explicit, they turn from online girlfriends or boyfriends to malicious manipulators with diabolical goals.

“Whether it’s harming herself, harming animals, harming her family or ultimately killing herself,” Giordano said. 

Most of the predators are men usually in their 30s or 40s, though some are teenagers. 

The FBI says it’s trying to capture the alleged predators and has had some success. However, the greatest protection, according to the FBI, doesn’t come from the government but from the child’s guardians.

“We need parents to pay attention to what their children are doing online, the games they are playing, the interactions they are having, the social media platforms they are using,” Giordano said. 

“We are going to lose too many children to this,” he added.

While the FBI wouldn’t comment on any hard numbers, authorities said there are several investigations in Western Pennsylvania dealing with this situation. To this point, none of the victims have harmed themselves or anybody else in any way.

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