(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South teenager says someone is sending her nude pictures through one of the hottest apps in social media: Snapchat. What's worse? She says everyone who uses the social media network at her school is receiving them, too.
Though the app self-destructs pictures within seconds, the impression lasts a lot longer.
Seventeen-year-old Kathryn uses the Snapchat app to exchange funny photos of herself with friends just about every day.
Some believe its a simple form of social media, but a recent Snapchat Kathryn received from a stranger was anything but innocent. It was a naked photo of a woman from a username Kathryn didn't recognize.
When the same message kept coming Kathryn tweeted about it and found out she was not alone.
"Everyone in my school is talking about getting them," she said.
Kathryn and her parents were worried about where the offensive photo was coming from.
The family called the Action News 5 Investigators. We put them in touch with the Memphis Police Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.
"There's somebody behind it. Of course our goal is to figure out who that person is," said Memphis Police Department Lt. Will Cleveland.
Cleveland says Snapchat has become a popular way to send spam.
"It could be that [the spammer is] just trying to develop a relationship with somebody and they're not sure who it's with just to see where it goes," he said.
That is why you should never respond to users you do not know.
"It allows possibly that person to get more data about you which could then harm you in other ways," said Cleveland.
That harm could be like stealing your personal information, your money or identity. It is one more reason parents need to be vigilant about what kids are doing online.
"They don't realize how many perpetrators are on the other side of the Internet so to speak, trying to get their children," said Cleveland.
Lieutenant Cleveland urges people to save those messages and report them to police.
Those "disappearing" Snapchat photos can be traced. And because Kathryn is a minor, the sender of the naked photos could face serious charges if caught.
"So, if you send images to a thousand children it could be a thousand charges," said Cleveland.
Luckily, Kathryn took action and did not fall victim to a potential predator. Her information was not stolen, but something else was – the good clean fun she used to have using Snapchat.
Snapchat community guidelines are posted on their website as well as a parent's guide and ways to report spam or abuse of the app. You can find a link to Snapchat's support site by clicking here: http://support.snapchat.com/.
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