COLUMBIA – The Mid-Missouri Internet Crime Task Force has determined that a suspect posing as a modeling agency representative, now a suspect in a child pornography investigation, is from Canada.
The suspect contacted an investigator with the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force who was in a chat room posing as a girl. The suspect claimed to be a 23-year-old female model living in California who recruits other models for her agency, said Andy Anderson, coordinator of the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force.
The two keys to keeping your children safe online
- "Talk to them, talk to them, talk to them," said Andy Anderson, coordinator for the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force. "Talk to them not just about the computers but cell phones as well. Scams occur everyday. We have to use our heads."
- "We don’t let them drive a car without training, walk them through the Internet," Anderson said.
"Know whom they are with online, and know what they are doing."
The suspect told the "decoy" girl that she would be an excellent model but needed to complete an online modeling application and send a variety of photographs. Eventually, the suspect asked for sexually explicit photos.
The suspect told the decoy girl not to tell her parents until she was accepted as a model. Investigators determined that the person is in Canada. Authorities now are continuing the investigation, Anderson said.
Joe Laramie, director of Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said the task force doesn't see a lot of online modeling scams to get child porn.
But the task force is seeing more cases involving cell phones.
"Now they have Internet access 24-7," Anderson said.
"With the new technology, parents have to be a little more diligent and knowledgeable — not spying but getting involved," Laramie said.