A new report from the BBC is blowing open the international phenomenon of fake celebrity social media accounts used to prey on children as young as eight. In the startling article, reporters talked with law enforcement, parents and even a victim of one of the fake accounts, to explore the world of offenders who pretend to be high profile celebrities like Justin Bieber or Harry Styles to lure victims in.
“Identity assumption by child sex offenders is increasing quite steadily,” says Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, the Australian cop who helped charge one alleged Justin impersonator with over 900 sex offenses in a recent case. Jon said the tactic is common with predators who want to use a celebrity’s credibility to prey on young users who might not know how to check an accounts authenticity.
An anonymous mother shared a story of her 8-year-old daughter being approached by one account that was pretending to be an unnamed celebrity. According to her, an introductory message promising face time with the star was used to encourage her daughter to share nude pictures.