When I was growing up in Michigan, we had our fair share of "Boogey Men" we were warned about. After-school specials would spin tales of young kids who made really bad decisions, like getting in a van with a stranger or letting a stranger in the house.

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My parents were concerned enough to give my sister and me a codeword that only our family knew. If for some reason neither of them could pick us up and someone whom we'd never met was going to take us home, they would give us that codeword or we didn't go anywhere with them.

Michigan Child Predators Evolving Tactics

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FBI Detroit took to X (formerly Twitter) and other platforms to warn parents about emerging ploys targeting minors. Insidious groups on social media platforms engage minors and encourage them to livestream themselves committing violent or graphic acts.

According to the FBI's announcement, these online predators specifically target kids between the ages of 8 and 17

 ...especially LGBTQ+ youth, racial minorities, and those who struggle with a variety of mental health issues, such as depression and suicidal ideation

Once they've picked a target, they begin the process of convincing them to post harmful content online. These extortion tactics include SWATTING and DOXING

What Are Threats of SWATTING or DOXING and Why Michigan Parents Need to Know

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Now that you know what these sick individuals are up to, here's how they're doing it: by threatening to SWAT or DOX them. Here's the explanation from the FBI:

SWAT also referred to as SWATTING is the action or practice of making a prank call to police or emergency services in an attempt bring about the dispatch of armed police officers such as a SWAT team to a particular address.

 

DOX also referred to as DOXXING is the action of obtaining and publishing personally identifiable information (PII) on the internet, usually for malicious intent.

If their tactics aren't sickening enough, their end game is simply stomach-turning.

Members of the groups threaten to share sexually explicit videos or photos of the minor victims with their family, friends, and/or post to the internet. The groups control their victims through extreme fear and many members have an end-goal of forcing the minors they extort into committing suicide on live-stream for their own entertainment or their own sense of fame.

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The disgusting groups targeting Michigan kids evolve constantly and reach beyond social media and into dating apps and more. The names change often but have included 676, 764, CVLT, Court, Kaskar, Harm Nation, Leak Society, and H3ll according to the FBI.

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So how do you begin to tackle this as someone raising a child? Even if you're child isn't in the 'target group', the FBI urges parents in Michigan parents to watch for the following signs of self-harm and suicide:

  • Sudden behavior changes such as becoming withdrawn, moody, or irritable.
  • Sudden changes in appearance, especially neglect of appearance.
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Dropping out of activities and becoming more isolated and withdrawn.
  • Scars, often in patterns.
  • Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises, bite marks, burns, or other wounds.
  • Carvings, such as words or symbols, on the skin.
  • Wearing long sleeves or pants in hot weather.
  • Threatening to commit suicide and openly talking about death, not being wanted or needed or not being around.

If you feel you or someone you know has been targetted by these groups, gather all the related info (email addresses, websites, names of groups, etc), and immediately report it to the following:

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