A Collier County man has been arrested for hacking the Snapchat accounts of eight teenagers and extorting lewd photos from them.
The suspect, Jorge Ingunza Jr., 21, faces 13 felony counts of offenses against users of computers, computer networks and computer systems; extortion; transmission of child pornography; and possession of child pornography.
“It makes me not want to have social media because it shows you that it’s not safe,” neighbor Alex Matos said. “Anybody can hack into your account and do something like that.”
The eight victims, six of which are in Collier County while two are in Colorado, range in age from 13 to 18. Evidence shows that there are numerous more victims, some who fear they will be in trouble with law enforcement or their parents for having lewd photos of themselves, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office press release states.
Since mid-December last year, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office received multiple cases from local victims, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and law enforcement in Colorado regarding a suspect who was compromising and accessing numerous minors’ Snapchat accounts, per the press release. Snapchat lets you share photos and videos that then disappear in less than 10 seconds, or you can post content that gets deleted after 24 hours.
The suspect would take over the account and change all of the backup e-mail, phone numbers and passwords. The suspect also would download the lewd images and videos the victim had of themselves and then contact the same victim on Instagram, sending them their own lewd images, the press release states. The suspect threatened to post the images publicly on social media if the victims didn’t comply with his demands for more lewd images.
The suspect used numerous fictitious accounts to extort the victims on Instagram as well as compromised accounts he had fraudulently taken control of from other victims.
At first appearance in court Thursday a judge set bail at $10,000 for each of the 13 counts, for a total bail set at $130,000.
Social media tips for parents to protect their kids
To prevent this from happening, Sheriff Rambosk offered these tips to help keep kids and parents safe on social media and online:
- Use parental monitoring software. Both free and paid parental monitoring apps are available with a wide variety of features. These apps can do everything from monitor the content of your child’s texts to sending alerts when your child adds a new contact.
- Check your child’s electronic devices often.
- Always know what apps your child is using and how the app can be used to communicate with others. Any app or website that allows your child to communicate and interact with unknown people is not safe.
- Never give out identifying or personal information – home address, school name, telephone number, age, marital status, or financial information in chat rooms or bulletin boards.
- Keep the computer in a family room rather than the child’s bedroom.
- Share an email account with your child to oversee their mail, and consider joining your children when they are in private chat areas.
- Don’t post photographs of your children on Web sites that are available to the public.
- Most social media apps have an age requirement. Enforce it.
- Learn their dialect. Kids have a language of their own when it comes to communicating online. Make sure you know what they are talking about.
- Guard your location. Kids may have fun tagging posts or photos with a location taken from a mobile device’s GPS, but parents might not want their child’s precise whereabouts broadcast.
- Inquire about your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) privacy policies and exercise your options for how your personal information may be used.
- Never allow your child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they’ve “met” online unless they’ve received your permission.
- If you become aware of the transmission, viewing, or use of child pornography while online, immediately report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.
- Instruct your child not to click on any links that are contained in email from persons they don’t know. Such links could lead to inappropriate Web sites.
- Remember that people online may not be who they seem. Someone indicating that “she” is a “12-year- old girl” could really be a 40-year old male predator.
- Be careful about offers that involve personally coming to a meeting, having someone visit your house, or sending money or credit card information.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim or has information about the case is asked to contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239-252-9300, or to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8477 (TIPS).