Cyber creeps stealing pictures of kids from Facebook - AmericaNowNews.com

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Cyber creeps stealing pictures of kids from Facebook

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Chloe Pestana is a proud mom and likes to share her children's accomplishments with her friends on Facebook.

Pestana said, "It's a social norm now for everybody to be on Facebook."

But alarms went off after she received a strange friend request from a man she didn't know.

Chloe clicked on his page and said, "He had pictures of little girls in underwear, he had pictures of boys dressed up in underwear and bras."

Then, an even bigger shock.

Chloe said, "I saw a picture of my daughter. How is he getting pictures of my daughter?"

There she was - Chloe's pride and joy - in a stranger's album titled "Children in Bikinis."

"Four-hundred pictures of little girls under four in bikinis. I want to strangle the guy, you know, because, that's your kids. That's your babies," said Chloe.

Fear set in. She scanned his album to see if there were any more photos of her daughter. That's when she recognized another young, innocent face.

"I'd seen my friend's daughter on there, and I called her and said 'You know, your daughter's on here' and she freaked out. So then I called the FBI and they said it happens a lot," said Chloe.

Unfortunately, Chloe's story is not uncommon.  The FBI says "it's an unfortunate fact of life that pedophiles are everywhere online."

Digital photos can be copied instantly and easily with the click of the mouse.  And there's a lot to choose from, with more than 8,000,000 users on photo sharing sites like Instagram and more than a billion users on Facebook.

FBI Agent and Spokesman Tom Simon says Chloe and other parents have every right to feel violated.

"Any time images of children from our community are used in an exploitive manner, that's very concerning to us. However, we need to draw the line between what's a crime and what's just terrible behavior.  Unless images that are being posted on the internet and re-posted by creeps and perverts are clearly pornographic in nature, it's just not a federal crime," he explains.

So what should concerned parents do?

Be careful what you post online and assume that any picture you post could be spread widely beyond your control.

Change your Facebook settings to 'private.'

Don't tag photos listing your child's full name or photos of other children without their parents' permission, or just don't post any photos of your children online at all. Because once they're out there, they're almost impossible to get back.

For Chloe, the decision was easy.

"I deleted it because I don't feel it's safe," she said.

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