RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It's a form of identity theft: someone using your picture, to create someone else's Facebook page. This scary situation could have devastating consequences and could happen to anyone.
Internet crimes detectives explained the web is frequently perverted to victimize users. Such is the case with a Richmond woman.
Sara Paige has been on Facebook for about five years. A picture of Sara popped up on a profile that isn't hers. In fact, she doesn't even know who Alexis Hogard, whose name is on the account, is.
"That doesn't represent me at all," Paige said. "That's my picture but that's not me at all. I did not go to Tidewater Community College and I'm not a go go dancer."
The concerns have been running through the VCU grad's mind since a friend alerted her to the fake page.
"Completely weirded out, like how did they look me up," she wondered. "Did they know me before or did they just find me on Facebook randomly?"
We showed the fake profile to Internet Crimes Det. Patrick Siewert, who said while the web is good for a lot of things, he's seeing examples of this kind of possible criminal behavior more frequently.
"People may not have any knowledge that their pictures and whatnot are being used to make up fake people and it's really kind of disturbing," he said.
He suggested Sara use Facebook's reporting tool to file a complaint.
Siewert explained in his experience, Facebook gets back to users with some sort of finding in about a week and can remove pages. That possibility made Sara feel a little better Thursday night.
"There's no reason other than bad things for it to be up," she said.
Whether or not identity theft charges are possible is not yet unknown.
Siewert suggested making your profile as private as possible. He also gave an interesting tip. He advised having an avatar as your picture instead of an actual photo, then there are no concerns about where it ends up.