Social Media Encouraging Identity Theft?

In 2010, an American documentary coined the term catfish
as way to describe fake identities being created via social media. This small
production soon gained major popularity as viewers reached out to the main
character, Nev, about their own experiences with people creating fake
identities. As the popularity grew, MTV soon adopted the concept and gave the
creators of Catfish their very own reality TV series. In most recent news,
Heisman Trophy candidate Manti
, has been blowing up the media with the latest catfish scheme
involving his supposed girlfriend. The stolen identity behind the account had a
full functioning Facebook
and Twitter account that interacted with Teo in a very natural way. It wasnt
until her death from a car accident that Teo and the media soon found that
he had been a victim of an identity theft who had ticked him with a catfish
identity. There is still debate whether or not Teo was in on the scheme or
not. Beyond the social photos poking fun at Teo and his fake girlfriend, other
companies have taken this identity theft phenomenon to another level.

A Brazil-based company has developed a site where users can
buy a fake girlfriend for as little as $10 for 3 days. Each price package
includes a promised amount of Facebook comments, relationship statuses, and
more. While some may find this fake Facebook girlfriend idea very assuming and
clever, it certainly raises some eyebrows in the online identity theft
industry. Is catfishing and companies like
making light of, and encouraging identity theft? Social media already poses one
of the biggest privacy
threats online
, and this new sensation is now glorifying the idea of hiding
behind someone elses face to create a fake identity. Companies should be aware
of this newest movement especially as more businesses move to online-only
models and more employees are working remotely from home. It would be too easy
for someone to steal an identity and then create fake social media accounts
behind this stolen identity to get a job and/or date someone.

Identity theft is not something that should be mocked or
encouraged. Online identity
verification and authentication
will become more important than ever,
especially in the social media landscape. Right now, all a thief needs an email
account and access to the Internet to steal someone elses photos, and the
possibilities are endless from there. Protect yourself and business by knowing
the risks and implementing fraud prevention
before you find your face behind another name.

[Contributed by EVS Marketing]

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