PRESTONSBURG, KY (WOWK) – The City of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, Police Department is sharing tips to help keep children and teens safe online.

The PPD says they have seen a recent increase in internet crimes against children, which often begin with texting or messaging through phones and other electronic devices.

According to police, a common scenario is that the juvenile meets a “friend” online and over the course of conversation, the “friend” then requests explicit photos or videos from the juveniles. If the juvenile complies and sends the photos, police say some of these criminals may threaten to send the photos to the juvenile’s friends list if they do not pay a certain amount.

The PPD also says while investigating this type of scenario, they have often found the crimes are perpetrated by a “crime group located in the Ivory Coast.” Because of this, the police department says educating the public about the dangers is their current best defense to protect juveniles from online predators.

To help parents and their children understand the dangers and learn more about how to stay safe online the PPD has posted links to informative resources on it’s Facebook page.

The Bluegrass State also has its own branch of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to investigate alleged instances of cyber enticement, child sexual abuse material and similar crimes. The KYICAC Task Force is comprised of more than 26 law enforcement agencies from the local, state and federal levels. The task force uses forensic and investigative components, offers training and technical assistance as well as victim services and prevention and community education.