There’s been much talk in recent weeks about the new phenomenon that is being dubbed ‘Paedophile Hunters’…groups who posed online as children in order to gather evidence against potential sexual predators and this week, the ‘Waterford News & Star’ published an interview with Diana (not her real name) who is actively working in the gathering of evidence against such people for one group.
From a base here in Waterford, she began using decoys to lure potential predators online; her concern arising from simply being a mother of teenagers and seeing similar individuals and groups operating in the UK.
Speaking on ‘Déise Today’ to Eamon Keane, Diana explained her methods and her reasoning behind creating these online profiles.
When it comes to creating a decoy profile, she uses – with their consent – childhood photos of people who are now over the age of 18 and creates fake information to make the profile seem more real. Other decoy profiles are added to make the information seem more legitimate and then there is a waiting time until contact.
She explained that you could set up a profile on any given social media app and within 10 minutes can receive upwards of 100 messages from other users. She then filters through the messages, looking for specific countries, the areas she focuses on being the UK and Ireland. Diana said that most initial messages she receives are pretty innocuous, generally a ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’. Diana then proceeds to reply in friendly conversation…and things progress from there, with her always making sure to mention the decoy’s age which tends to be between 12 and 14.
During the interview, Diana also revealed she is also currently in contact with a man whom she believes to be in the Waterford area….