Identity theft can take many forms, especially in the world wide wide web. If you're popular, or beautiful, or cool, or even just plain interesting to the eyes of someone else, chances are that someone will grab a photo of you from one of your websites, and then claim to be you. This is prevalent especially in sites such as friendster, myspace, and other similar websites. In a blog I wrote a couple of days ago, I discussed about a certain Amelia Pauline Ng (hereinafter referred to as Amelia). Amelia was the topic in one of the forums I chanced upon a few days back. Many forum members were talking about her and she was referred to as an impostor more than once in the said forum. It turns out that Amelia has a friendster account wherein she uses pictures that don't belong to her. Since the pictures are in her friendster account, many would assume that the girl in the pictures on her friendster account is Amelia. This however is farthest from the truth. In reality, the girl whose picture Amelia is using is actually the picture of Miss Leslie Carlos. I checked Amelia's friendster account and true enough, a picture belonging to Leslie Carlos was her main photo in the said account. According to what i gathered from the forums, Amelia uses the pictures as a sort of come-on for would-be victims. According one of the forum members, she would ask for cellphone load in exchange for SOP (sex on the phone) or the promise of a sex eyeball.
So, phase 2, i decided to look for ms. Carlos and found her. In her site, I found out that she has already found out about Amelia, and the girl is not happy about it at all. and who would be? So I sent Ms.Carlos an email and asked permission to write about it in my various blogs.
There is another rather controversial issue in one of the forums i entered. This time it involves a young woman by the name of Ria Sacasas (I am not sure if this is eher real name). There have been much debate about whether miss Sacasas is a real person or not. Sure, there are lots of photos of her, but the big question in the forums is: Is the girl in the picture the same person as Ria Sacasas? In friendster, there are at least 2 accounts bearing the picture of Ria Sacasas, but with different names. One claims to be a Josiebel Lim of UA&P and another claims to be the real Ria. I say "claim" because since the practice of "identity theft" is becoming rampant, we can never really be sure who is who. Mind you, this is a more familiar occurence for celebrities. Type in the name of Bea Alonzo in the friendster search engine and I'm pretty sure you'll get many hits, not all of them authentic. Sadly, there is no clear indication that this practice will let up soon. (I'll be discussing the Ria Sacasas mystery in a separate blog soon, i promise).
Be warned! No one is safe from impostors (I refer to them as identity thieves). As for Leslie Carlos, I am thankful she has agreed for me to write about her experience as warning to others who might fall prey to this kind of identity theft. Thank You.
Many would take a cynical viewpoint about this issue and take it in stride -- but can we really afford to just take it in stride? In the case of Leslie Carlos, don't you think that it is extremely unfair for Leslie to suffer the embarrasment and humiliation just because someone thought it would be "cool" to post Leslie's pic in a friendster account and use it to their advantage? If this happened to you, would you take it sitting down? hmmppph. I didn't think so.
Victimized by impostors posing to be you on the web? Send me an email with details and we'll include them in my series about identity theft and impostors on the web. send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More on this issue soon! This article has been posted in "Random Thoughts of a Mapangurirat", Mapangurirat (Blogger), and My Global Village.