Modern Identity Theft – Social Media as Revenge

Identity theft isn’t a new concept. Seen the movie “Catch me if you can?” In essence, the protagonist, a real criminal who turned adviser to the FBI later in life, was stealing identities for money (and perhaps a more exciting life.) Of course, these days people steal identities so they can open credit card accounts, get loans, get away with crime, you name it. That kind of ID theft is the bane of creditors and innocent victims around the world. But now there is a new kind of identity theft, the kind done for revenge

It has become increasingly common for someone to post “on behalf” of someone else on Craiglist. Those posts frequently request sex, in some cases the posters have even offered up their victims for supposed rape fantasies. On other occasions people have posted offering entire houses for scavenge.  Invariably the people doing the posting, if they admit they created the post, say it was a prank.

A prank?  Not to the victim. The reality is much more serious. Houses have been destroyed, property stolen, and those are the less dangerous “pranks.” Some of these posts could easily cause someone to be raped or otherwise seriously injured. For examples of some Craigslist revenge listings check out this post on Forbes.

People also sometimes seek to destroy others reputations by creating fake accounts on Facebook, MySpace, even entire blogs. Recently a woman created a Facebook account in the name of her ex-boyfriend. In that case, the perpetrator has been charged with identity theft and a judge has decided to let the trial go forward.

This kind of modern identity theft is extremely serious, with serious ramifications for the victim and the perpetrator.  Frequently, with the assistance of the site used to harm the victim, the police are able to track down the posters and DAs are willing to charge them with serious crimes.

People who would write a revenge post or create a fake account in another person’s name need to stop and think before they do so. Not only could they cause serious harm to another person, but they could very easily find themselves in prison as a result of their actions. And rightfully so.

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