Is Snapchat a Tool Used by Sexual Predators to Exploit Teens in Michigan? (Pt 1)

A close up of a smart phone with social media apps on the screen, including Snapchat.
Snapchat is used for “catfishing” which means pretending to be someone you’re not online to fool others. But who are the victims in these cases?

Ever heard of catfishing? No – not that kind! We’re not talking about gathering up your rods and heading for the nearest river to sit in the shade and wait for the catfish to start nibbling. We’re talking about creating false personas online in order to lure people into relationships with you, usually for nefarious purposes. 

There are a lot of warnings out there about social media being used for this exact reason, although it’s usually Facebook that gets the bad rap. However, in a recent case out of the Detroit area, a man was discovered to be using Snapchat as his catfishing grounds. And while he’s certainly not the first, cops are hoping he’ll be one of the last!

So what exactly is a catfish?

A “catfish” is a person who pretends to be someone else online. They completely assume a fake identity in their interactions through a specific account, and go the extra mile to make their victims believe that they’re exactly who they say they are, which is a process that can go on for a long time. 

It tends to happen a lot in online dating, and also when pedophiles are grooming young teens and children to have them provide pornographic videos or pictures of themselves. In this particular case out of the Detroit are, a young man was pretending to be a teen boy online, using pictures of good-looking teenage boys that he downloaded and pretended were his profile shots to create an online alias and lure in unsuspecting young victims.

This is where the issue gets really complex…

Technically, with all the filters available on social media these days, almost no one looks like their real selves anymore when they’re online. So are we all catfishing? Is it catfishing to put on make-up and photograph yourself in the best possible lighting before signing up for dating apps? This is a complicated topic. And as for sexting and exchanging nude selfies, how does anyone know who they’re really talking to online anymore…

Join us next time for a closer look at this complicated subject, and one current case that captures this issue perfectly. But until then, we caution you to be very careful when meeting people online, or deciding how much to tell anyone about yourself through social media. And if someone has accused you of catfishing, or trying to sexually exploit someone else, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Sex crime allegations are incredibly serious, and you’re going to need help from an aggressive defense attorney if you’re going to survive this experience intact!

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