There is nothing more important than a child's safety. That's why parents and grandparents alike need to be extra vigilant keeping tabs on their children's social interactions, either online or offline.
To try and help, we recently warned you about secret "sexting" codes that children are using. Cyberbullying, online predators and even the risk of internet addiction are just a few other things to watch out for.
Now, we've learned that predators are sending physical packages to target underage children. Read on and I'll tell you more about this disturbing new threat that you need to be on the lookout for.
You need to watch out for these packages
The Covington County District Attorney's office has officially issued a warning about creepy, unsolicited packages being sent to underage girls. This is happening in at least four southeastern states.
In its official Facebook page, the office posted this predator alert:
The official warning came after two girls in Phenix City, Alabama received similar packages last week. Both packages were addressed to them personally, in care of their school and contained food and a letter signed "Atur Bhuck of Santa Fe, N.M."
In the letter, "Atur Bhuck" claims to be 14 years old, mentally disabled and a victim of bullying. He's asking the underage girls to write him at either of these two email addresses - email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FBI reports that the IP address of the Gmail account can be traced to Houston, Texas.
Shockingly, more than 50 New Jersey visitor packages were ordered from that address for underage girls in Alabama, South Carolina, and Virginia. At this time, it is not known how the perpetrator acquired the names of the underage girls.
The FBI adds, that IP address has also appeared on websites discussing girls' underwear and types of music to listen to when he visits his pen pal in Phenix City, Alabama.
Yikes! Whoever this "Atur Bhuck" really is, those are red flags for predatory behavior for sure.
What to do if your child is targeted
This package campaign may be confined to a few states right now but it could spread to other areas.
Wherever you may be, if you suspect that your child has been targeted with this current threat or has received similar unsolicited packages, contact the District Attorney’s Office at (334) 222-2513 for more information.
How to protect your child from online predators
Although this suspected predator is sending creepy physical packages, one of the ultimate goals is to have the underage girls to communicate via email. With kids getting their own smartphone or tablet at 5 years old or younger, it's important to know how to keep them safe online. Here are some suggestions:
- Have open dialogue - Make sure you talk to your kids about online safety. Let them know the risks that come with being online and that they can speak with you anytime a problem arises.
- Set parental controls - Take advantage of the parental control settings on your child's gadgets. These will help keep them from accessing inappropriate online content.
- Install security software - You can prevent some online risks with security software.
SPEAKING OF CHILD SAFETY, HERE ARE 3 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE ONLINE
The internet is filled with tons of information, but there are several gutters that are easy to slip into. It's hard enough for adults to avoid these sites, but it's even tougher for teens and kids. Here are three steps every parent should take to protect their kids from online threats.