A family from Missouri has had to deal with an increasingly common phenomenon this month. Having photos of their children stolen from their social media pages.
The child – Isla Bailey – was born with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome, and has had to deal with a number of surgeries during her first nine months. As such, the last thing on her mother’s mind would be having to deal with someone stealing Isla’s photos and using them in online scams.
But that is exactly what happened. But to make matters worse, the perpetrator was actually an old school friend, and was using the photos to extort money from ex-boyfriends.
Ashley Standridge, Isla’s mother, was contacted by a mystery woman through Facebook who told Ashley that someone was using Isla’s photos to extort money from ex-boyfriends by claiming Isla was her child. The mystery woman turned out to be one of the girlfriends of these men, and the person attempting to extort money was actually an old high-school friend of Ashley’s who was a friend on Facebook.
The old high-school friend was using photos of other children as well, that had also been stolen from elsewhere on the Internet.
It’s the latest in another case of photos being stolen from social media pages and used to execute scams online. Most commonly, photos of children, especially ones with disabilities or injuries, are used in like-farming scams designed to lure Facebook users into sharing Facebook posts or following Facebook pages.
Isla’s mother said regarding the incident –
Just be careful who you have on your Facebook. Make sure your Facebook is as locked down as it can be so people that you’re not friends with cannot see what you post. Be aware that these things do happen.
Remember, be careful what information you choose to share with the Internet, and while it may not have helped Ashley who had her photos stolen by a Facebook friend, always keep your privacy settings strict to stop strangers from being able to see what photos you upload to your Facebook timeline.