PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Local police say criminals are stealing names and photos from students’ social media accounts to create profiles on sexually explicit websites.
In early September, two female students at Sherwood High School told School Resource Officer James Wolfer that this happened to them. Since then, more students have come forward reporting the same thing.
“My best guess is that the scammers found one of their profiles and it was open, took some photos and just started going through their follower list and finding their friends who also had profiles that weren’t set to private,” Wolfer said.
Officer Wolfer says these online predators try to lure people to websites often used by sex workers. They steal the teen’s name and photos from their Instagram account and create a copycat account. The copycat Instagram account has a link to sexually explicit websites such as OnlyFans or Fansly, where the user is promised sexual photos or videos in exchange for credit card information. However, those photos and videos either don’t exist or are stolen from pornographic websites.
“What these scammers are doing is they’re putting these together as quickly as they can because they’re getting taken down quickly, just like wack-a-mole. They’re just going to try and get people’s credit card information and move on to the next one,” he said.
Wolfer tells KOIN 6 News the accounts are fake, but the emotional damage to the students he’s spoken with is real.
“They were definitely embarrassed that people might think it’s their sexually explicit videos on there or that they themselves had created this,” he said. “It’s really awkward, it’s icky, it’s violating and it just feels gross.”
Officer Wolfer said once the fake accounts were reported to Instagram and OnlyFans, the companies immediately removed them. He says the best way is to make sure teens are aware this is going on and ask that they set their Instagram and all social media profiles to private.
“I always tell students, don’t accept friend requests or follow requests from people you don’t know,” he said.
KOIN 6 News reached out to several police departments in Tri-County to find out if this is happening to students outside Sherwood, but none have reported hearing about it.
Wolfer said not only is he making an official report for the Sherwood Police Department, but he’ll also send a report to federal law enforcement.