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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | post

Meet Your Clone, on Facebook

by Neal O'Farrell on

Have you ever Googled yourself, maybe to see how many times you receive honorable mention on the internet, or maybe you're curious to know how much other people actually know about you?

Plenty of people do it, and vanity aside, it's actually a very good idea to regularly check just how much the internet knows about you.

So imagine you do a Web search for your name and up it comes, including photos of you. Except it's on a dating site you've never even heard of, and the person behind the photo is very obviously not you.

A 24-year-old Denver resident had that very wake-up call when she discovered that a 46-year-old woman had "stolen" her name, photos, and personal information from her Facebook page and used that information to try and attract dates at numerous dating sites.

In spite of the fact that the victim made a police report and contacted the District Attorney, the thief was not charged. This is a very grey area of the law, because if the DA can't prove criminal intent, or intent to harm or defraud, the case can be very hard to prove in court.

In an interview, the Denver District Attorney’s Office commented, “It just seems wrong, but it may still not rise to that level where we need to reach where we can file it criminally.”

Lessons learned?

  • I keep saying it — if you use Facebook, get familiar with the privacy settings and set them to the max so that you tightly control who can see what.
  • There's no need to tell the world your story, at least not on Facebook or other public places. Limit what you say about your family, friends, and work history, and limit what photos you post.
  • If you're using Identity Guard®, you have the additional protection of internet monitoring that can help detect the misuse of your name and identity on the Web.

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