Business - Written by on Thursday, February 7, 2008 16:52 - 4 Comments

Facebook fraud, the new identity theft

There have been concerns in the past over Facebook becoming a hotbed for identity theft. With all of the personal information available on profiles industry pundits feared social networking sites would be easy pickings for hackers. What they didn’t predict was ‘Facebook identity theft’, meaning someone virtually stealing your identity on Facebook?

Well we now have our first case. CNN is reporting that “Moroccan authorities arrested an engineer Wednesday for allegedly stealing the identity of the king’s younger brother on the social networking Web site, Facebook, the state news agency said.” This should prove to be interesting, as up until this point the web has been the home of virtual identities, which are not necessarily correlated with ones psychical identity . Take Second Life for example, the purpose of the site is to create an avatar that then becomes your identity as you interact in the virtual world. I would be willing to guess that there are more than a few celebrity look-a-like Second Life avatars, so does this mean they are technically stealing someones identity.

“Fouad Mourtada, 26, was arrested in Casablanca for “villainous practices” in connection with the theft of Prince Moulay Rachid’s identity, Maghreb Arabe Presse reported.” The problem seems to be that Fouad was a little to too good (ad perhaps even a little devious) at pretending to be the Prince of Morocco. I did a quick check on facebook for the closest thing to a Canadian prince, Wayne Gretzky, and to my surprise ‘the great one’ has about 30 Facebook profiles (although his choice of profile pictures are sometimes questionable – signed hockey cards and cardboard cut outs). If I were to wager I would bet the over/under on the number of fraudulent Gretzky profiles to be at least 29 maybe 30.

Will this be the start of the rich and famous pro-actively defending their online identities? Perhaps this will help push initiatives such as OpenID forward? I will leave you with a clip called Facebook Off (a spoof on Face-Off), my favorite line “Your just a person, facebook is a website”.




4 Comments

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Reza
Feb 23, 2008 20:27

Does anyone know of a list of identity thefts facilitated by facebook?

Ariane
May 28, 2008 13:46

Hi there,

Just recently, someone unknown has taken my profile picture to use as his/her own. The picture is of myself and a friend, but the name is entirely new to me. If that wasn’t creepy enough, this person has started adding all my friends as well. I’ve sent out a notice and updated my status on facebook to make others aware of this… However, I still don’t feel safe.

Any advice as to what else I should do? I have sent an email to abuse@facebook.com, but will this be enough?

I’m also very concerned because in order to message this person, I had to add them to my facebook as a friend. I was polite about it and asked them to kindly remove my picture. Problem is, they have yet to accept my friend request, which means they can still view my profile – but I cannot view theirs or find them in search. I have removed everything, from my birth date to my wall. But again, is that still enough? Should I be creating a new facebook account and deactivating my current account?

Any tips on what do to here would be great! Thanks!

Regards,
Ariane

PJ
Jul 1, 2008 6:32

Facebook and myspace are going to be similar to this generation’s future version of what cigarettes were to our parents’. By the time they realize just how harmful those fun, feel good things are, it’s too late! Check out this article about mitigating the problem at http://ecrimefighter.com/Online-Protection.html

Brand You According to Google | RC/A Digital Media
Feb 8, 2009 18:34

[...] Concerning, yes, but as I tell my clients who are worried about their online identities, get used to it. And do something about it, after all it’s not rocket science. Only “friend” people you know, make sure your password is difficult to guess, and don’t join every new social network that comes your way – the more exposed you are the more prone to what’s coming to be known as Facebook fraud. [...]

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