Sheriff: Fake Facebook page attracted hundreds of underage friends
JOURDANTON, TX – The Atascosa County Sheriff says a 40-year-old man posed online as a 22-year-old to attract hundreds of underage girls to be his Facebook friends.
While it’s not a crime, it has Sheriff David Soward concerned enough to use the same social network to alert the community.
The Sheriff wrote in real life, Sam Oliver Campbell is a 40-year-old man wanted for theft. But online, he goes by Oliver Campbell, a 22-year-old horseback rider with hundreds of local underage friends.
"A lot of young girls,” local mother Betsy Smith says. “I was shocked.”
"I'm just scared about my girls,” local father Gabriel Ramirez adds.
Campbell is behind bars on the theft charge while the Sheriff investigates his online activity.
In the warning on Facebook, the Sheriff reminds everyone, and especially kids: just because you have mutual Facebook friends doesn’t mean you have to accept a stranger’s friend request.
“Cyber parenting has blindsided all of us,” says Mandy Majors with nextTalk, a group that gives parents the tools to keep kids safe. "We have to start early talking about cyber strangers - so before they even get a phone."
She suggests giving examples of online manipulation.
"People can download pictures of a celebrity and request to follow your child,” Majors says. “And your child gets so excited because a celebrity has asked to follow them, but it's a stranger."
She says parents should also learn the technology and check their kids’ friends lists for strangers.
"One rule that we have on social media for my kids: if you don't know them in real life, you cannot follow them. Or they cannot follow you,” Majors says.
By EMILY BAUCUM