Local man becomes victim to Internet scam
MIAMI (WSVN) -- It could happen to anyone. Your Facebook photo, an Instagram picture, or a picture on a dating site could be stolen by a stranger and used for predatory purposes. That's exactly what one South Florida man said happened to him.
Initially I thought to myself, 'Gee, did I anger somebody?,'" said the victim of an Internet scam.
His name is Keith, and although it is his picture being used on a website, he said the caption about him being a sex-addicted cheater, compulsive liar, and con-artist is not true. "Obviously I was shocked," said Keith.
He said just last week, a friend told him his face popped up on an Internet site. The picture used on the website is the same photo Keith uses on his own social networking profile. According to this site, not only is he a cheater, but they've got the Facebook conversation to prove it. "First of all," said Keith, "the Facebook page that they created is a fictitious page. And the alleged woman that I was doing the improprieties with was someone who I had no clue of. I had never seen the photo in my life."
For the record, Keith is unmarried and not in a relationship, but if someone wanted to use the conversation, they just need to fork over $39. But if Keith would like to remove it, he would have to pay a lot more. "When I clicked on 'remove information,'" said Keith, "I then saw that there was a drop down menu for payment options. I felt like I was in such a vulnerable position, that I did consider sending the $199 to have this removed as expeditiously as possible."
Dr. Ruth Tallman of Barry University lectures about social media. "The technology is so new," said Tallman, "we don't know where it's going, and we don't always know what the consequences are. That leads to things happening with our information that we had no idea might happen."
"The Internet was the greatest invention in a very long time," said Keith. "But with that comes some great perils for some people like myself."
There are several ways to protect yourself. With a lot of social networking sites, you just have to make sure you have your privacy settings, and of course never post anything that you think someone might be able to use against you.
Keith has filed a complaint with the FBI. They keep track of crimes like this with their Internet Crime Complaint Center.
There is also a lot of information on the FBI's website about these sort of crimes. The FBI hopes that if they get enough complaints about sites like these, they may be able to find whoever is behind it.
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