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New app could make children sitting ducks for predators. (WPEC)

New app could make children sitting ducks for predators

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By VINCENT CRIVELLI, CBS12

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (WPEC) - Children could be sitting ducks for potential predators. A new app connects users as young as 13 with adults, some without even knowing it.

Linda Johnson works hard at Jack Sheehan’s Dry Cleaners in West Palm Beach. Right now, she’s saving up to buy something nice for her two grandchildren.

"They're up in Minnesota, so I don’t get to see them as much, but it’s nice," said Johnson.

She’s trying to keep up in the ever-changing world of social media, not for friendship, but to make sure her little ones stay safe. Now, her focus is on the app SC Friends Finder.

"It’s pretty scary," said Johnson.

The app connects Snapchat, Instagram and Kik users on a single platform. Johnson’s biggest concern is the app shows how close other users are, down to a hundredth of a mile or 50 feet.

"Predators can just easily find out where you are," said Johnson.

On Google Play, the app’s content rating is Mature 17-plus. However, the app allows you to search for users as young as 13.

"These adult people are preying on this app," said Johnson. It’s relatively easy to find 40- to 50-year olds with profiles on the app.

"This one here says 'looking for some fun,'" said Johnson, referencing a user’s profile description.

CBS12 signed up for the app and found Melissa Stokes’ profile, which led to her Instagram account. CBS12 messaged her to meet up to talk about the dangers of the app. However, she said she never signed up for the app. She says someone else made a fake profile on the app but connected her real Instagram and Snapchat accounts.

"It’s creepy because someone could come up to me and start a conversation with me like they know me but they are talking to somebody else," said Stokes.

Stokes says this is alarming, but it’s not the first time; she says someone used her photos to create a fake dating profile.

The app’s developer is based in China. CBS12 asked what measures it was taking to keep predators off the app but has not yet received a response.

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