A teenage girl from New York City was allegedly harassed on Instagram by a stranger who sought explicit photos from her when she was only 12-years-old.

Ella — whose last name wasn't disclosed — claimed she was terrorized on Instagram last year by a man posing as a teenage girl. The man's profile picture was an image of a teenage girl in a gymnastics pose, according to WNBC. The young girl's family was initially unable to get Instagram or the New York Police Department to investigate the allegations further.

"I was just so frightened, I didn’t know what to do," Ella, who is now 13, told WNBC. "I thought it was a young girl who maybe knew me from somewhere. A friend of a friend. I thought it was safe."

The poser allegedly infiltrated his way into Ella's friend group on Instagram before she had ever approved of his follow request, giving him access to view her private account. The pair began to engage in conversations in the social media app's direct messaging feature when the man sent her a graphic image of a penis, she said.

"At that point, I realized they are not who they said they are," Ella said to WNBC. "I had to block them and report them. I thought it was over."

While the man's account was taken down by Instagram, he popped up under another username. Ella subsequently accepted his follow request, not knowing the true identity of the user. Thereafter, the man allegedly kept pushing for nudes by arguing, "You have this picture. To make it fair, you have to send one back," WNBC reported.

The teenage girl continued to send pictures of her face until the man explicitly asked for images with her shirt off, which is what he allegedly said would end all harassment. Instead of exchanging a shirtless photo, she informed her parents of the situation. Her parents said they attempted to take the case to the NYPD, who reportedly suggested that the family seek Instagram's assistance. 

While Instagram pulled the predator's second account, they initially didn't file a report with the proper authorities, the family claimed. However, the app is currently investigating the incident alongside the NYPD. 

Instagram has a zero-tolerance policy for exploitation.

"Posting, sharing or downloading images that sexually exploit children for any reason can be criminal," Instagram's exploitation policy read. "We report all apparent child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children."

Child pornography cases are on the rise. The most recent case to surface early this year involves a minor that's featured in a pornographic video, which has been shared all over social media.

Instagram did not immediately return International Business Times' request for comment.