Fried catfish: On identity theft

Yesterday afternoon I got a message on Flickr from a user I didn’t know. He alerted me that someone on Facebook was using my photos and also harassing him and his family.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

I didn’t know if it was real or not but it couldn’t hurt to search Facebook.

I searched and found some weird stuff.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

Um. What?! I don’t have anything against the employees of Walmart, but I’ve never worked there or any other retail position. Also, I’ve never heard of the name “Consuela,” but I do know a couple of Consuelos.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

I checked out the photos and “Consuela” had been using my personal and family photos for almost a year.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

Hey, look, my sidebar photo. Also, that wasn’t a nice summer day in Pueblo, Colorado. It was hot summer day in East LA.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

I guess we have something in common. I really like this photo too and have used it since ’08 as a profile or avatar photo.

Someone used my photos for a fake profile

This one really bugged me. That’s my family! Using my photos is one thing. That’s creepy, weird and just plain wrong, but using photos of my family is on another level. I’ve seen enough episodes of Catfish to know that this kind of thing happens, but never wanted to search for my own photos on Google Images. Where would I even start? I have thousands of photos online. By the way, I searched the stolen photos later. None showed up on the Facebook profile probably due to privacy setting. My photos did show up where they’re supposed to: my blog, Flickr account, friends’ blogs, and blogs where I occasionally comment thanks to Gravatar. I believe “Consuela” downloaded the photos from my blog based on the photo sizes and the fact that all my photos are friends only on Facebook. My download settings on Flickr are limited too.

After going through the photos, I sent a couple of messages asking “Consuela” to remove the photos. I also looked up how to report an impostor account and submitted my complaint. I posted about it on Twitter and Facebook. Several friends reported the fake account as well by saying the user was pretending to be someone they knew. Each time they submitted a complaint, I’d get a message:

Hey Cindy, it looks like this person is pretending to be you. You should report them for impersonation if you think they are.
Report “Consuela” for impersonation

I haven’t received anything from Facebook, but later in the evening I noticed my photos were gone. A friend told me a few moments later that there were new photos up on the profile. I’m assuming “Consuela” stole those too.

9 thoughts on “Fried catfish: On identity theft

  1. AR

    I noticed you posted this on instagram – and given these other details? Its freakier than I thought. Yikes.
    What really bugs me is that you’re the second person I follow that has had this happen in the past year or so.

    Reply
    1. cindylu Post author

      Do you know how the other person found out? I really doubt I would’ve found out without a tip. In this case, she probably shouldn’t have been harassing someone who knew how to check if she was legit.

      Reply
  2. elenamary

    i looked at that profile. it seemed they were mostly collecting people that went to that HS. i imagine that “Consuela” is a very disturbed person wanting to seek revenge on old high school classmates and community but unable to do so as themselves. i hope fb does something—but probably unlikely.

    Reply
    1. cindylu Post author

      The profile is gone! FB removed it this morning for identity and privacy violations, main reason impersonating someone. I got more info from the initial tipster, who claims to be a sheriff deputy in his town (the pics of him on Flickr have him in uniform). He thinks “Consuela” might be an ex co-worker bitter about her current situation. She also posted something about making a complaint about the sheriff’s department.

      Reply
      1. elenamary

        sounds like a super crazy person. but you know what, smart enough to pick a beautiful woman to impersonate. i’m glad FB finally deleted her account. Hope they follow up by threatening legal action if she creates another FB account.

        Reply
  3. Mari Lucie

    I am a follower of your bloggie and just plain out admire you for being an inspirational person! Wow, so sorry that you had to experience this, especially now when you should be concentrating on enjoying your pregnancy and all. I am so sorry to hear this Cindlu. But glad to hear FB did something about it.

    Reply

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