Personal trainer victim of online identity theft
Personal trainer victim of online identity theft

A Gold Coast personal trainer has become the victim of identity online theft - an increasing trend on social media sites.

Jessica Stevens has a following of 30,000 people on Facebook, so she is never surprised to receive frequent friend requests.

But when the 23-year-old noticed a request from someone who was using her photo as their profile picture, alarm bells started to ring.

"It's very weird," Ms Stevens told News Corp.

"It's a bit scary because you don't know what they're using it for," she said.

"I get a bit worried about people using fake profiles for scams, and I hope they're not contacting people asking for money, or using any more information about me."

It's not the first time Ms Stevens' online identity has been hijacked. A year ago, she discovered a profile claiming to be from Sydney, using Ms Stevens' photo.

Another profile of a man from the USA private messaged Ms Stevens, informing her he was using her image as his cover photo.

On closer inspection, that same image was on the man's wall claiming Ms Stevens was his dental nurse Kira.

After Ms Stevens blocked the man, he sent her a Tweet saying 'honey, don't be scared, I mean you no harm'.

The offending profiles have been reported to Facebook and removed.

Queensland cyber and identity investigator Steve Bignall often works with Facebook to track online identity scams.

"The trouble is identifying whether there is a criminal offence," he said.

"If you put images online and they're unprotected, so they can be viewed by other people, there is a chance those images can be copied and used for other purposes. It's just the nature of the internet."


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