Action13

Is someone pretending to be you online?

Monday, February 25, 2013

There's a chance your "friend" online may actually be a stranger using a stolen identity.

This is good warning for everyone, whether you are on social media or not. Is someone out there pretending to be you?

It's happening and fooling plenty of people in the process.

If you are not paying close attention, you might think one Melanie Lawson Facebook page belongs to Eyewitness News anchor Melanie Lawson, but you'd be wrong.

The page "Melanie Lawson Ministries" has Melanie's picture from ABC13 on it and plenty of accurate biographical information, but it does not belong to the real Melanie Lawson.

"It was creepy," Melanie said. "I have no idea who that is, where that came from."

The Facebook page even fooled some of Melanie's real-life friends.

"I have gotten a couple of calls and e-mails from friends that were asked to join, too, which makes the whole thing weirder," she said.

Jay Lee is the host of the local radio show Technology Bytes.

Lee says while fake social media sites are not uncommon, they are easily dealt with on Facebook.

"Facebook is super responsive," Lee said. "They have a form you fill out and say 'I am filing a copyright infringement notice' and they review and then they take it down."

The trouble is if you do not know a fake page exists, it will not go away on its own.

"Everybody should Google search themselves once in a while just to see what is out there," Lee said. "You can put your name in and some keywords and see if there are sites putting your information out there."

Lee says no matter who you are, go to an internet search engine a couple of times a year and search your name and you can use image search to see if your pictures are being used without your consent as well.
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