Facebook Identity Theft and the New Friends I Just Made in Cape Coral Florida

Real Estate Agent with McGraw Realtors

StarfishI got an email the other day from someone I didn't know who lived in Cape Coral Florida.  Apparently someone had lifted my Facebook picture and was using it as their profile picture on Facebook.  And they were posting on a political page in the Cape Coral area.  The page administrator had long suspected this person as being an imposter of some sort so they did a reverse image search on my picture and discovered me in Owasso Oklahoma.

After they contacted me to let me know what was going on, I sent the offender a note through Facebook demanding that they cease and desist from using my likeness and personal property.  I also went on the Facebook page and notified all the users of the person who was using my image.  I immediately got a response from several folks there about the situation.  We then began working together to notify the local media (because the person had said something about running for a city council position), the local law enforcement and the FBI.  I also reported the person to Facebook.  Needless to say, the profile disappeared later that day. 

While we don't expect that the local law enforcement will do anything due to this being an Internet thing and the profile already being gone, I was hoping Facebook would out the intruder.  I do not know if the profile was deleted by them or by the person since I have not heard from Facebook.  Bummer!

I learned a couple of things out of this experience...

1. It is easy for anyone to take your picture and/or pictures and to use them on the Internet in other places and for less than honorable purposes.  Now you already know that, right?  But stay with me.  My friends in Cape Coral used a reverse image checker called www.tineye.com.  I tried it out and it works great!  To use it, right click on the image, go to properties, copy the complete address and then paste it into the program.  Hit the go button and watch all the places where that picture is used pop up on your screen!  And from what I can tell, this program is free!

2. I now have some new friends in Cape Coral Florida.  What has brought them all together is politics, which is fine.  They aren't my friends because I agree with their political opinion, but rather because we met through a common situation.  When we visit Florida over New Years, we're gonna plan to visit Cape Coral to meet some of these nice people.  And guess what?  If they ever know of anyone moving to the Greater Tulsa OK area, I'm pretty sure I'll get a call, text or email!  I guess that is a weird way to sell houses, but the inverse it true too.  If I ever know of anyone moving to Cape Coral, I've got some friends I can send them to.  These folks know the local area and culture.  I don't know any Real Estate folks there yet, but knowing someone in an area is helpful when someone you know is moving to that area.  Perhaps the lesson here is that we need to get to know one another better!

3. Being "online" is a bit like what it must be to be a celebrity.  You have to protect your material, your pictures and your image just like famous people do.  This is why I Google myself from time to time.  And now I know to reverse image search my photos too.  Remember, for all the nice people in the world, there are some people out there who aren't so nice.  Monitoring yourself online is necessary for our own safety and protection.

So there you go.  What could have been a nightmare (had the imposter really taken my whole identity) turned out to be a pretty good experience.  I met some nice folks and got the situation resolved in way that helped both them and me.  Looking out for one another and following up or checking things out when something just doesn't seem to add up is a good thing.  I'm glad they followed their hunches.  

Originally Posted at: My Owasso Home


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Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Bob, Thanks for sharing the tip on tineye. I tried it and you are right, it's very easy and I am happy to report that no one has stolen my picture. What you described would freak me out but it sounds like you handled it well with a little help from your new friends:)

Oct 06, 2010 03:08 PM #1
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Excellent info on www.tineye.com.  I'm off to see where in the world I (or my images) are!

Thanks for sharing. 

All the best, Michelle

Oct 06, 2010 04:59 PM #2
Marilyn Boudreaux
Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s - Lake Charles, LA
Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor

that is scary but in a positive twist you did get your name out there for future relocation biz...I always like to look on the sunny side Bob :)

Oct 06, 2010 05:03 PM #3
Joni Staples
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

That's just freaky, Bob! I guess you can take it as a compliment that they liked the way you look. :O) thanks for the website tip. I will check tineye.com out!

Oct 07, 2010 12:17 AM #4
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

I must be an innocent.  I would never think that somone would bother doing something like this.  You did a great job of converting lemons to lemonade and thanks for sharing the site tineye.com.

Oct 08, 2010 10:50 AM #5
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Bob Haywood

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