Are you one who believes you’re too smart, too savvy, to get your identity stolen in the social media world? Nobody thinks this will happen to them, and Stephanie Francis, 24, was no exception to that way of thinking.
A report from firstcoastnews.com that the Jacksonville, Florida woman claims her identity was stolen—on social media of all places—and that the thief used it to create a phony Facebook account. This is interesting because there’s probably a ton of Facebook accounts under the name of “Stephanie Francis.” But there’s more to a fake Facebook account than using a name that a lot of other users have.
Francis says she’s being charged with a crime and wants to know how she can protect herself. As just mentioned, there’s more to this than just a duplicate of a common name. Francis explains in the article, “Someone created a Facebook with my name and picture on it and has been stalking my ex-boyfriend.”
This is just too easy to do: Find an online picture of the person, for instance, who bullied you in high school (it could be from an article announcing their promotion at a company, who knows?), then sign up on Facebook using that person’s name and photo for the profile page. How easy is that? And if you do anything illegal like stalk the bully’s ex-wife, the authorities will blame the bully! Social media is a magnet for cybercrime.
Francis has been charged with cyber stalking. She’s contacted Facebook and law enforcement, and the case has now gone to court. How did the imposter learn of her ex-boyfriend? Is this detail of Francis’s life in her social media posts? Maybe the imposter is a coworker and overheard her tell someone about the ex-boyfriend.
This case not only teaches the lesson of be careful what you post online, but also whom you share in person the details of your life—how loudly you talk, and who might be nearby to overhear.
Francis has created a Facebook account under a different name and faces another trip to court to try to resolve the situation.
Perhaps this mess could have been prevented:
- Create a super strong password that would take a hacker’s machine two million years to crack.
- Think! Think! Think before you post on social media!
- Make your FB account as private as possible.
- Seel out your likeness on social and the moment you discover an imposter, report it.