No, A Sex Trafficking Ring is NOT Targeting You Through Snapchat
In the last 24 hours I've seen a lot of buzz online about a Snapchat scam purportedly linked to a sex trafficking ring.
One of my friends in Oklahoma shared on Facebook that she'd received a Snapchat request from someone she didn't know; apparently she'd been "found by search" by a stranger. A radio DJ I follow in Illinois also shared her similar experience.
Apparently, Snapchat users across the country -- starting in Massachusetts and moving west -- have been receiving requests from complete strangers.
I traced the claim of a snapchat scam linked to a sex trafficking ring back to a Facebook post shared by a girl in Boston, MA. Here's what she had to say:
So there’s a sex trafficking ring going on in Lawrence Mass. If you get a random person who tries adding you on Snapchat this morning and it says “added by search” it’s the trafficking ring and they’re using snapchats to locate girls.
An update to the post also indicates that "police were notified."
Within 24 hours, the post has been shared 153K times and generated tens of thousands of comments.
That's what we know. That's all we know.
Truth Or Fiction looked into the claim and found no further evidence of a sex trafficking ring or snapchat scam.
The claim was a classic sex trafficking scare with no basis in credible reality. We immediately contacted police in Lawrence, Massachusetts after checking their Facebook page for alerts — so far we have not seen any, and we left a message for the department.
The Lawrence, MA police department put fears to rest with a post of their own:
So, what can we learn from this?
1. Remember, it's the internet. Not everything on it is true.
2. Do your research. Or at least don't share things haphazardly. Claims like this are what cause unnecessary mass hysteria.
3. As Truth or Fiction points out, this isn't (usually) how sex trafficking rings work. You can read more on that here.
4. We should always use caution and discernment regarding our safety and privacy. Do check your social media platforms to see which ones share your location. If you don't want them to, turn location preferences off.
5. Have a conversation with your kids. While this whole claim probably isn't true, it's a good opportunity and excuse to chat with your kids about real dangers around them.