(Story broke 5/9/2017)
46-year-old Eric Beckman of Browntown, Wisconsin, is accused of allegedly using the Kik messaging app to solicit a 13-year-old girl for explicit pictures. Beckman posed as a 19-year-old pig farmer named Tommy Lee Holmes. While the article doesn’t explicitly state it, it gives the impression that Beckman did allegedly receive explicit photos from his young victim. Posing as someone who is closer to their victim’s age is a common trick used by many online predators.
Beckman is said to have even gone as far as to send a tablet to the teen through the mail. While tablets aren’t the most expensive pieces of tech anymore, this does show how far some predators will go to circumvent parental monitoring. So if you take away your kid’s device, the predator can still communicate with them with this secondary device. Again, with most messaging apps, all you need to use one is a wi-fi enabled device and an internet connection. They do not require a cellular signal.
At last report, Beckaman was free on bond.
Kik is probably the most frequently used app by predators who try to communicate with kids. As I’ve said many times in the past, Kik is inundated with sex offenders, pedophiles, and child porn collectors. If your kids are using Kik, make sure you know who everyone is on their friends list. If they can’t give you a last name of their friend or if their friend is not local or known to you, delete that contact or reconsider allowing your kids to use Kik.