Business - Written by Brendan Peat 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”.
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