There are a lot of scams on Facebook, but one of the creepiest involves cybercriminals stealing photos from innocent people and using them to set up imposter profiles. That’s exactly what happened to a married couple in Kirkland, Washington, who discovered their wedding photos had been used to set up hoax accounts.
Cheyenne Gillooly discovered the scam when her wedding photographer received a message from a user who wanted to see more of Gillooly’s pics. Since then, several more accounts have popped up using either Gillooly’s or her sister’s photos. This kind of hoax unfortunately isn’t illegal, but it is against Facebook’s terms of service. However, some experts allege the company has a financial incentive not to punish fake pages.
“They don’t enforce that unless something is truly egregious,” cyber security analyst Linda Criddle said. “You can’t get a hold of them because they don’t want to have to respond to this. If you’re a large company, all traffic is good traffic. All of the traffic is generating money for you… So, really cutting down and being hard core about not accepting abuse on the site actually cuts into revenue.”
Of course, victims of photo theft should still report it to Facebook — and strengthen their privacy settings to ensure it doesn’t happen again.