Law student Jazmine Jones has fallen foul of eWhoring scammers, who are making her life hell. It started in October, when hackers got into her Facebook account, stole 300 photographs, and used them to set up fake profiles. The profiles are designed to scam money from unsuspecting users – claiming she is an escort and asking for cash – this is known as eWhoring.
And as fast as the pages are taken down, more appear in their place.
Jones, a 23 year old law student from Beckenham, told theDaily Mail that her email was hacked last October, and the criminals used it to get into her Facebook account. Once there, they copied her photographs, and used them in a series of scams.
They have set up numerous Facebook accounts using her pictures, in which they said she was an escort, and used a variety of techniques to get people to hand over money – known as eWhoring.
She went to the police and told ThisislocalLondon that they said it was up to Facebook to take action. She has told Facebook, but each time it closes an account, anther one is opened. She said that in June there were 10 fake accounts using her picture.
So what are your rights?
Jones is far from alone. Facebook has said that 8.7% of all its pages are duplicates or false accounts. And while many people use a false name for their own reasons, it estimates that 14.3 million are using these pages to con money out of other users.
Worryingly the police confirmed to the Mail that if someone sets up a fake account in your name or using your photo, this isn’t something you should report to the police, but to the social media company concerned.
Facebook has a straightforward method of reporting fake accounts, with the option “this person is impersonating someone”. Once reported, the site should take the page down. The problem is where the scammers continue opening accounts either in your name or using your photograph. Once Facebook has shut down the account, it will not allow you to open another one without its permission. However, the scammers have got round this, by assuming another identity.
Facebook is cracking down on these fakes, and has been systematically locking people out of popular pages and profiles. In order to get back in, they have to produce ID to prove they are who they say they are. However, unless your scammer is very active and popular there’s every chance they will slip under the radar.
It seems that the best approach is to conduct regular searches of your name, photos and other details, to be sure that no-one else is out there using them. In an ideal world, there would be a foolproof method of stopping people taking advantage of your details. In this imperfect world, it’s up to us to take care of our own online profile.