DANVILLE Va. (WFXR) — As the internet grows and new social media apps become available, the safety of users become a risk.

National incidents like what happened in California, where a former Virginia State Trooper traveled to California after ‘catfishing’ a teenager, highlights the many threats the internet can pose.

According to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC), the best tool to prevent internet crimes against children is education. Authorities throughout the Commonwealth share a few tips to keep young adults safe, while highlighting the threats of Financial Sextortion.

ICAC says if Financial Sextortion happens do the following:

  • Stop responding
  • Take screenshots
  • Report and block the user
  • tell someone

The Task Force says if this occurs do not send more images, pay more, or comply with their demands even if a threat is made. Authorities warn even if you comply with demands, the user may still carry out the threat.

The Virginia Office of the Attorney General says it is believed approximately 40,000 sexual predators can be online at any moment. The attorney general says some signs that your child may be at risk of child exploitation include the following:

  • Pornography or obscene material is discovered on a child’s computer
  • Child receives mail, gifts, or packages from someone you don’t know
  • Child turns the monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come
  • into the room
  • Child uses online account belonging to someone else; check your Internet history files or ask your child
  • Child becomes withdrawn from family

ICAC advises that victims of sextortion or any internet crime seek help and report the incident to local law enforcement. Tips can be entered online the the CyberTipline.