Police say a Facebook scammer is targeting college girls trying to get into sororities and asking them for nude pictures.
It seems to have started earlier this year at Florida State University, where freshman Ashley Atchison had received a bid to Kappa Delta.
Ashley says she received a friend request on Facebook from a girl named Lexie Hillbrenner. She didn’t know Lexie was, but she accepted the request anyway.
Not long after that, she started getting messages from Lexie and having long conversations with her on Facebook instant message.
“They basically said ‘tell me everything about you,” Ashley recalled. “’What your personality’s like, why you decided to join a sorority, how is your family life how is high school.’”
Lexie told her that her sorority was considering her for a leadership position and the conversations seemed to serve as a sort of vetting process.
Ashley says she had 12 conversations with Lexie over a four-day period, some of them reaching as long as two-and-a-half hours.
The talks quickly turned even more personal and became very sexual in nature.
“They asked me what color underwear I was wearing,” Ashely said. “And they asked me to go even further and ball it up and put it in my mouth…They kept reassuring me, ‘This is for the sisterhood.’”
Ashley says she never sent Lexie any inappropriate photos, but police say other victims have.
Investigators say the scam has hit over a dozen college girls and has also popped up at the universities of Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Louisiana State.
“It could be a man, a woman, it could be kids. It might not even be in this country,” said Florida State University Police Maj. Jim Fissell.
“My biggest fear now is that sitting behind a computer screen getting nude photos from girls is not going to be enough from them, and they could attack,” Ashley said.
NBC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams says it’s clear that under Florida law, a crime has been committed.
“The question is finding the person,” Abrams said Thursday on the Today Show. “We always talk about the fact that the internet can be anonymous…the problem is what they’re really gonna need is the computers that were actually used.”
That can be difficult. Facebook says they do not keep those kinds of records, but Abrams says if the predator slips up and makes some sort of mistake that could reveal his or her identity, they’ll be caught.
“I think in the end, if authorities stay on this, that they will end up finding the person”
Ashley says finding out who is behind all of this would definitely help her sleep at night, but until then, she has this advice for women using social networking sites.
“Keep your guard up and realize that there are scary predators out there.”