Online Identity Theft on MySpace and other social networking sites

We all know how easy it is to disguise yourself online. I mean, who really knows that it’s YOU? You can lie about your age, gender, occupation, nationality and so on…no one would really know.

Now, what’s complicated matters further is identity theft. We have heard about how hackers can access your personal data such as bank account numbers, and other personal details. With so many people going online, and socialising online, especially with the proliferation of social networking sites, it’s become easier for people to steal identities online, and Internet identity theft is a “a new brand of stalking, harassment and defamation”, according to a recent article in the Starits Times.

Recently, an Australian woman had a MySpace account and profile created of her, which she didn’t know about until she started receiving strange emails and calls from people who had seen her ‘profile’. In the US, a woman was charged with hacking into the MySpace account of American Idol star, Diana DeGarmo’s MySpace page and responding to emails in her name.

The thing is it’s hard to determine which are real accounts and which are not, and with social networking sites getting more and more popular, this will be an issue online users will need to watch out for and deal with. 

Another online fake who was recently busted is Daniel Lyons, a technology writer at Forbes, who for 14 months, assumed the identity of Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs in a blog, the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Posting anonymously, “Fake Steve” Daniel Lyons lampooned the real Steve in the blog, and the blog has developed its own cult following. Lyons has even landed a deal to write a book as “Fake Steve”. I don’t think the real Steve will be too thrilled about this. 

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About blogscapes
An intrepid explorer into the the brave new dimensions of the blogosphere and new media landscape.

5 Responses to Online Identity Theft on MySpace and other social networking sites

  1. Pingback: Faking it online: Floggers exposed « Blogscapes

  2. Jack Payne says:

    One can only wonder at this new con man tendency of becoming a “flasher,” faking somebody’s name in the public eye. Makes no sense. The best con men lurk in the shadows, work silently, and certainly don’t encourage publicity.

  3. blogscapes says:

    I got a comment from Jack Payne:
    One can only wonder at this new con man tendency of becoming a “flasher,” faking somebody’s name in the public eye. Makes no sense. The best con men lurk in the shadows, work silently, and certainly don’t encourage publicity.

    Well, Jack , it looks like the motivations of such con men are now different, esp when using the online medium.

  4. Afraid to Say says:

    Ariene Sutherland used and, is still using my email address, to sign up for myspace and many, many other internet sites. She has been reported to the police several times, but I’ve had to handle each incident as it happens. I think she is mentally ill. She just won’t stop. One of the biggest problems I face, is that I am a professional person and this hurts my reputation. She is a 19 year old black female who has posted half naked photos on my space (which were removed). How do I stop her? She has also asked for quotes from companies, etc. Some of these companies I do business with. How do I stop her?

  5. blogscapes says:

    Oh dear, this is really bad. Often, laws have yet to keep up with online fraud. I hope you have informed people you work with and do business with so that they are in the know and can alert you, and you can build up a more comprehensive case against the fraudster.

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