US woman’s photos lifted from Facebook, used on dating sites

Saturday, September 4, 2010

WASHINGTON - An impersonator stole a woman’s photos from her Facebook account and used them on several online dating sites.

“I thought this couldn’t be true because I have no enemies. I don’t know anyone who has any vengeance against me and then I [thought], who could it be? Who would do something like this?” ABC News quoted the anonymous woman as saying.

The young woman, being called ‘Stacy’ to protect her identity, said that her mother met a man last month who apparently had been having an online relationship with the fake Stacy, but when he saw her photo on her mother’s mantle, he realized he had been cheated.

Stacy found that the fraudster impersonated her on the dating sites Plenty of Fish, Sugar Daddies and Dallas Singles, as well as on Facebook and had even opened a Yahoo e-mail account in Stacy’s name.

“I don’t even know what this woman looks like. … I know bits and pieces but this woman knows my whole life,” Stacy said.

However, she knew the fraudster’s name - Charlene Aguilar - using which the police caught her. According to a Denver Police Department report, the woman admitted impersonating Stacy.

The report also said that Aguilar cried during the interview and said she only used the photos because she thought Stacy was pretty. She also didn’t think using someone else’s photographs was illegal and was apologetic.

However, the action doesn’t amount to a crime.

“The bottom line is the behaviour-what was done and the intent behind it-did not rise to the level of a criminal statute that we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

But a bill that unanimously passed California’s Senate and Assembly last month would make it a misdemeanour to impersonate someone online with the intention of “harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding.” It would be punishable with up to 1,000 dollars in fines or one year in prison, or both.

The new legislation would extend the existing impersonation law to online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and other social media sites.

Some others, however, believe that even though the law appears to be finally catching up, it’s still not ready. (ANI)

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