WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr


Protecting Your Social Identity

Reported by: Send eMail Kallie Cart
Videographer: Brad Rice
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Nov. 14, 2013 11:28 PM EST
Updated: Nov. 14, 2013 11:37 PM EST

EYEWITNESS NEWS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO

Stolen Social Identity
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , West Virginia

It seems like everyone is on some sort of social media platform nowadays. It's a great way to stay connected and allow others into your life, but if that information gets into the wrong hands, your social identity could be compromised and there's little you can do about it.

Laurie Shultis leads a busy life in Spencer, running a flower shop, raising her kids and staying busy as the president of several youth performance groups.

You could say she has a pretty picture perfect life, and someone else thought so too.

"I woke up one morning and a friend of mine said, 'You didn't create a new page did you?' and I said, 'No,'" Shultis said.

To Laurie's shock and surprise someone was pretending to be her on Facebook.

You've likely heard of catfishing. It gained national attention with a show on MTV and captured countless headlines when it was revealed that Notre Dame's Manti Teo fell in love with a girl online, only to realize she didn't exist. She had been made up in the social media world of Facebook.

But what's happening to laurie is happening to an increaing number of people and could be considered even more harmful.

"It's an extreme invasion of privacy. When I saw it you could almost feel the gulp, Why would somebody do this? What would they get out of this?" Shultis said.

Someone on Facebook, not just stealing her pictures and making someone up, as they do in catfishing, but using her picture, her name and her information, posing as her on line.

"I was thinking is someone trying to scam us for money or just wreck my personal reputation," Shultis said.

Laurie has a lot to lose by an imposter ruining her reputation. Fortunately she found out about the page before any damage was done. She then went through the steps to report it to Facebook, three days later, the phony page was removed.

"There's no telling what that person could have done in three days to destroy me."

But beyond reporting the invasion to Facebook, there's little else Laurie could do to find the person or to keep it from happening again.

You may be surprised to find out, for the most part, pretending to be somoene else on-line is legal.

Evan Patterson with the FBI in Charleston specializes in computer intrusions. He says situations like Laurie's aren't uncommon -- jaded lovers, someone out to ruin another's reputation, computer hackers --
and very rarely do the situations rise to a criminal level.

"If someone is impersonating me on-line, to reach the federal level for a charge there has to be a threat, stalking or I have to have some sort of monetary loss," Patterson said.

If they wreck your reputation, you could file a civil lawsuit, if you can find the person responsible which is often a long shot. So Patterson suggests protecting your online self as best you can through the security settings offered on Facebook.

"Don't accept the defaults, go through and see how can I make this public or I don't want this to be public," Patterson said.

Steps Laurie now makes part of her social media routine, to keep herself protected.

As for figuring out if this has happened to you, it's difficult. Patterson says really the only way to find out if someone is posing as you is to occasionally search your name on the internet, through Google or a similar site, and if someone has created a fake page you can then report it to that social media site and if it warrants it, to authorities.



MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
Police Say Man Will Face Several Charges After Car Rams House In Charleston
News
Apr. 16, 2014 12:13 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Bob Aaron, Jeff Morris) -- Charleston ...
Full News Story

New Report Says High-Quality Child Care Programs Lacking In Mountain State
News
Apr. 16, 2014 10:55 AM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A new report said high-quality ...
Full News Story

Couple Charged With Bringing Drugs Into Scioto County Jail
News
Apr. 16, 2014 10:17 AM EDT
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Tiersa Davis)-- Two people are facing ...
Full News Story


News Touching Banned During Regional Jail Visits
Apr. 16, 2014 8:36 AM EDT
News Charleston Coping With Bitter Cold
Apr. 15, 2014 9:18 PM EDT
News Man Indicted On Charges He Threatened To Kill U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin
Apr. 15, 2014 5:32 PM EDT
News Putnam County Plans To File Lawsuit Against Waste Management
Apr. 15, 2014 5:32 PM EDT
News Search For Vehicle In River Near Point Pleasant Called Off Due To Wind, Water Conditions
Apr. 15, 2014 5:06 PM EDT
News Williamson Mayor Charged In Federal Information
Apr. 15, 2014 4:55 PM EDT
News State Police Say Logan County Man Faces Charges After Stolen Items Found At His Home
Apr. 15, 2014 3:22 PM EDT
News Body Of Man Discovered In Athens County Creek Identified
Apr. 15, 2014 3:08 PM EDT
News Former U.S. Rep. Mick Staton Dies
Apr. 15, 2014 3:23 PM EDT
News Road Reopens In Greenup County After Explosives Removed
Apr. 15, 2014 1:12 PM EDT
News Last Day to File Taxes and Sign Up for Obamacare Is Today
Apr. 15, 2014 5:24 PM EDT
News Obama To Observe Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary With Moment Of Silence
Apr. 15, 2014 12:55 PM EDT
News Freeze Warning In Effect Overnight With Temperatures To Plummet
Apr. 15, 2014 12:19 PM EDT
News Judge Zakaib To Hear City Effort To Ban Prosecutor Mark Plants From Domestic Violence Cases
Apr. 15, 2014 11:29 AM EDT
News Vandalism Incident At Capitol Center Under Investigation
Apr. 15, 2014 11:26 AM EDT
News Jacobs-Jones Named Senior Vice President For Operations At Marshall University
Apr. 15, 2014 5:05 PM EDT
News Putnam Commissioners Plan Legal Action Seeking To Force Removal Of MCHM From Landfill
Apr. 15, 2014 10:16 AM EDT
News Human Skeletal Remains Found In Wyoming County On Property Of Murder Suspect In Unrelated Case
Apr. 15, 2014 9:12 AM EDT
News Juvenile To Be Charged In Connection With Elkview Elementary Center Bomb Threat
Apr. 15, 2014 12:39 PM EDT
News Human Remains Identified As Missing Greenup County Man
Apr. 15, 2014 8:50 AM EDT
News Brush Fires Continue To Be A Concern
Apr. 14, 2014 10:18 PM EDT
News Civl Lawsuit Filed By Victim Of Mingo County Corruption
Apr. 14, 2014 7:18 PM EDT
News Plants Says He Won't Resign After ODC Recommends His Immediate Suspension
Apr. 14, 2014 6:38 PM EDT
News Deputies Investigating Reported Home Invasion In Sissonville Area
Apr. 14, 2014 6:03 PM EDT
News People In Putnam County Could Be Getting Public Water Access
Apr. 14, 2014 6:00 PM EDT
News WV American Says Water Samples Taken From First Two Filters In Carbon Change-Out Project Show No Detection Of MCHM
Apr. 14, 2014 4:44 PM EDT
News White Kia Dodge In South Charleston Has New Owner
Apr. 14, 2014 4:38 PM EDT
News Huntington Shooting Victim Dies, Suspect Charged With Murder
Apr. 14, 2014 4:54 PM EDT
News Efforts In Congress To Reform Taxes Hitting Roadblocks
Apr. 14, 2014 4:21 PM EDT
News Greenup County Sheriff's Department Warns Of Scam Involving Impersonation Of A Deputy
Apr. 14, 2014 4:27 PM EDT


Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
Rahall raises $324k in WVa's 3rd; Jenkins, $194k

Democrat U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall raised almost $324,000 last quarter for his contested re-election bid, while GOP challenger Evan Jenkins banked about $193,500.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Senate leaders ask for special session

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said he will ask Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session so lawmakers can strengthen penalties for heroin dealers.
Full Story

Ohio News
Low of 19 degrees in Toledo breaks 139-year record

Winter temperatures are refusing to go away in northwestern Ohio.
Full Story

PREVIOUS NEWS: NOV | CURRENT







Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site







Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.