A young woman was shocked to find that pictures she had uploaded to her Facebook account had been stolen and used on someone else’s profile on a dating website.
Karen Woodley was horrified when an old university classmate warned her one of his friends had been chatting to a girl online using her pictures.
The 23-year-old from Cheltenham then discovered her pictures on the Plenty of Fish website under the name of JodieWW.
And it was only when Miss Woodley confronted the user, who had stolen her pictures, and demanded to know where the pictures had come from, were they removed.
The occupational therapist, who has been in a relationship for two years, said: ‘It was so scary when I realised that my pictures, and my identity, had been stolen.
‘I couldn’t believe it. And then I started to worry that if my pictures were on a dating site, where else could they be?’
Miss Woodley became first aware that her pictures had been stolen after receiving a text message from friend James Chisholm.
He told her that one of his friends had been chatting to a girl on Plenty of Fish, whose profile had two pictures of Karen, but was using the name JodieWW.
The friend even believed that he was going to meet up and go on a date with the woman, who said she was a 24-year-old carer from Milton Keynes.
At first the friend didn’t believe he had been duped and it was only when he was shown Miss Woodley’s Facebook profile that he realised the profile was a fake.
Miss Woodley, who is in a relationship with boyfriend Nathan Adamson, said: ‘I felt really freaked out about it and Nate was really uncomfortable about it too.
‘What if it had been one of his friends who had seen the profile and he genuinely thought that I was on a dating site?
‘How could anyone do something so deceptive and horrible?
‘I was so angry I decided to do something. I knew I couldn’t let her, or maybe even he, get away with it.’
The profile using her pics also had the catchline ‘Looking for nothing serius (sic)’ and said that ‘Jodie’ was five foot five with an adventurous personality.
Miss Woodley, who has never had a profile on Plenty of Fish or any other dating site then decided to set up an account and confront the person behind the stolen pictures, as well as reporting them to the app.
Her first message read: ‘Sorry, but who are you? Those are pictures of me!’
But when the mystery person still didn’t remove the account she tried a different approach and wrote: ‘I’ve reported this now so please can you take them down.
‘I don’t know why anyone would do something like this or save images of someone else and portray it as their own identity but you shouldn’t need to use images of someone else to develop a relationship with someone.
‘They should be with you because of you.’
The account has now been removed, but it is unclear if the user took it down or Plenty of Fish, as she has had no reply from the site about her report.
Now she wants to raise awareness about online privacy and warn other young women to pay careful attention to their settings on Facebook.
She said: ‘I thought my Facebook account was completely private, but when I googled my name I realised that some of my pictures came up.
‘And I also found out that you need to go through each profile picture individually on facebook to make them private.
‘That seems unnecessarily complicated so I want to warn people to be careful about what they put online.
‘The whole thing really freaked me out because I don’t know how many people Jodie was speaking to or even if she put my pictures on any other sites.
‘I have no idea who he or she is but just because the profile is made to be female doesn’t mean anything.
‘It could be for a number of reasons. I feel a bit sorry for this person. If they feel that they have to use another identity to develop relationships then there are significant insecurities there.
‘Or it could be dodgy, or it could be a prank – if it’s a prank I don’t see how it’s funny. It’s putting other people at risk.
She added: ‘I found it hard to report the situation. There’s been no reassurance about what’s been done.
‘It’s weird to think that if my friend hadn’t have seen it I would have never have known.
‘How do I know it’s not going to happen again?’
Source: Daily Mail