Utah mother Laura Cardoza received an odd Facebook message from a stranger living over 2,000 miles away in Syracuse, New York. The stranger, a man named Andy, told Cardoza that his daughter had faked a pregnancy along with the subsequent birth and death of her fake child —and had used photos of Cardoza’s young daughter to pull off the scam, asking for money for her fake child’s funeral.
Cardoza’s daughter, now two years old, struggled after she was born, and Cardoza shared the pictures to show her inspiring progress. However, she didn’t take into account that con artists could be looking for her pictures, too.
“I just wanted to show how she was, and her progress and how proud I am of her… but I guess that backfired,” Cardoza said. “I didn’t think that would happen to my baby… You always think that its not going to happen to you, and it can.”
It’s a good idea for all Facebook users to check their privacy settings, but it’s especially critical for parents to secure their profiles. Photos of children should only be shared with trusted individuals, preferably in closed groups, or even uploaded to the site at a smaller size so they would be unusable if stolen. After all, you never know what kind of opportunistic creep might be prying around your pics.