Identity Theft On Facebook
Be careful guys.
As a pin-up singer and songwriter with all-girl band The 411, Carolyn Owlett was used to the attention of fans on the internet. But nothing prepared her for finding herself at the centre of a cyber nightmare after having her identity stolen.
Earlier this week, the former model and pop star, whose band had two Top Five singles in 2004, was at work in her Mayfair office when a stranger turned up professing his undying love for her, while expressing his conviction that she was also in love with him.
What made the experience so sinister for 26-year-old Carolyn was that her visitor, a Belgian, knew so much about her.
It soon became clear that, like motor-racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, she had been targeted by a cyber fraudster.
‘I threatened to call the police as I had no idea who the guy was. We had never met,’ Carolyn tells me.
‘He was utterly shocked, and explained that for 17 months he’d been having an internet romance with a woman he’d been convinced was me.
‘After we spoke a while, he realised the relationship he thought he’d been having was completely false.
‘We eventually worked out that a Belgian woman had created a Facebook account under my name, stacking it full of photographs stolen from my personal account.
‘It also involved texts, Skype [the online phone service] and emails. She had been conducting a virtual romance with this man.
‘She had stolen hundreds of Facebook pictures of me and put them on her own Facebook page.’
Carolyn was especially horrified to discover the woman had taken photographs of her three-year-old son. ‘She was claiming my child was, in fact, her little boy,’ says single mother Carolyn, who is now a radio and TV producer.
She later discovered the woman — using her real name of Kristella — had badgered 25 of Carolyn’s friends to be her Facebook ‘friends’.
Adds Carolyn: ‘The Belgian guy was devastated. He sent me 2,000 pictures the woman had on her site of me and my friends. I feel sorry for him. He’s nice and quite good-looking, but has been living a lie.’
Since unravelling the scam, Carolyn has dyed her hair, while her stalker has vanished