Investigators warn parents about sexual predators on video game chatrooms

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputies are warning parents about child sex predators potentially using the chatroom of a popular game to lure children.

The game is called "Fortnite."

It's been available on video game consoles and computers for nearly a year and was released for Apple iPhone's last month. Since then, it's already been downloaded more than 11 million times.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers found at least one report of a sex predator using the game's chatroom to try to lure a child in the United Kingdom. That country's National Crime Agency also issued a warning to parents about the game.

In Colorado, Jefferson County Sheriff Sgt. Michael Harris told the Problem Solvers he's also concerned about sex predators using Fortnite's chatroom to lure children.

"They  (children) forget that they’re possibly playing with somebody who says they’re the same age or something, but it can be an older person trying to trick them, trying to lure them," Sgt. Harris said.

Sgt. Harris knows all about that.

He created Jefferson County's Cheezo unit in 1996, to protect children from online predators. Since then, the unit's arrested nearly 1,000 predators and has made thousands of presentations to children and the community.

When it comes to Fortnite, Sgt. Harris is not concerned about the game itself, which has cartoon-ish violence has the few people left on Earth fight zombie-like characters, but the chatroom.

"Predators...they go where our kids go...whether it’s in real life or on our technology life," Sgt. Harris said.

"We have a simple thing we tell kids - play the game, don’t give out your name. And talk about the game, just don’t talk about yourself."

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