Pokemon Go: Sex offender caught playing game with child

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The game has rekindled interest in the Pokemon world and the creatures that inhabit it

A registered child sex offender has been arrested after being caught playing Pokemon Go with a minor near a courthouse in the US state of Indiana.

Randy Zuick was put on the sex offenders list in April after pleading guilty to molesting a child.

The terms of his probation specify that he avoid contact with children.

Zuick was spotted by a probation officer based at the courthouse in Greenfield, who alerted police. He will face a judge later today.

“The probation officers who knew him were the ones who saw him doing that and so it seems that it was a little bit surprising that he would be so bold to violate his probation terms on a courthouse lawn,” Hancock county prosecutor Brent Eaton told WTHR news.

Media in Greenfield have reported that the Pokestop on the lawn outside the Hancock County courthouse had become a popular spot for Pokemon players.

If it is decided the incident violates the terms of his probation, the judge could revoke the arrangements and send Zuick to prison for up to three years.

‘Deeply troubling’

Zuick was arrested on the day that the UK’s NSPCC urged the game’s creators to update it to limit the ways that adults could use it to target children.

The NSPCC said it was “deeply troubling” that the app’s creators had ignored warnings and child safety concerns.

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The game encourages people to explore their local area to find Pokemon

Game maker Niantic and the Pokemon Company said they took player safety seriously and “encouraged” people to be “safe and alert” at all times.

Computer security firms have also issued warnings to people about the growing interest in the game from cyber thieves.

RiskIQ said it had now seen more than 215 separate Pokemon Go-themed apps pop up on app stores. So far, it said, only one of the programs was actively malicious but others could do harm in other ways.

“Approximately half of these unofficial apps are requesting broad permissions from users, risking data exposure via mobile devices,” said Ben Harknett from RiskIQ.

One fake version found by Eset seems to disappear after being installed but instead lurks in the background on a phone, generating clicks on pornography sites to help an ad-fraud campaign.

Security firm Symantec said many cyber thieves were creating “trojanised” versions of the Pokemon Go game.

“If the malicious version of the app is installed, it displays the Pokemon Go start screen, making users assume that nothing is amiss,” said Symantec researcher Candid Wueest in a blogpost. “However, the threat gives the attacker complete access to the phone.”

Mr Wueest said it had also spotted other criminals running scams purportedly offering people a quick way to get hold of PokeCoins, the game’s virtual currency.

Many well-established survey scam sites had also rebranded to tempt Pokemon players, he said.

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