Jun 26, 2012

Identity Theft Via Social Media

Imagine for a moment that you are perusing through social media channels and come upon a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account and see yourself in pictures that you never remember taking. There are updates stating you are at certain events and functions that you never attended. And tweets with strange words you would never, ever write.

Identity theft doesn't just happen with financial information. In the age of new media, it can happen with the photos we post to social media channels as well. Even private Facebook photos are in danger of being stolen if put into the wrong hands.

Years ago, I fell victim to someone who was pretending to be someone she wasn't. She had several identities on several Twitter accounts, posing as various celebrities, family members, friends, etc. She reached out to me with her main stolen identity, Rachel London, and tweeted to me nearly every day.

This was before Twitter verified celebrity accounts, and seeing all of the pictures she posted, I naively believed her. So did thousands of other people, including fans of the celebrities she pretended to be.

When she decided to have one of those celebrity profiles turn on me and started attacking me, my name and my reputation, leading the thousands of fans to do the same, I became suspicious and did some digging. That led to this very lengthy post, in which I revealed her lies and identity theft.

Thankfully, I cleared my name and those accounts were either abandoned or shut down by Twitter. I kept track of where she was, however, and have known for some time that she's been tweeting under the name @Team__Jackson. She is posting most of her photos under the name LakersGirl22 on Instagram.

Rachel's latest stolen identity. A pretty, Asian blonde.

I've kept an eye on her antics, and knowing that she's scammed people out of money in the past by claiming to have cancer, I've waited to see if she does something similar with this account. She hasn't yet, so I've kept quiet save for a few tweets every now and then letting people know what she's up to.

But I kept thinking about all of the people that she is duping now. All of the people that believe her lies and really think Russell Brand is talking to them via her or that she's shoulder-to-shoulder with Lady Gaga on her tour in Australia. That she works at Interscope Records (I happen to have great respect for Interscope and am honored that they follow me on Twitter...I don't want their reputation in any way sullied by this woman as mine was). But most of all, that she is a pretty, young, Asian blonde.

She is none of the above. She is a woman in her late 30's (possibly 40's now), living with her parents in Tustin, California (at least she was when this all happened years ago). Her name is Rachel. I know her full name, but I am hesitant to reveal it here. And she looks nothing like the woman whose photos she has stolen to Photoshop onto other bodies to perpetuate her lies.

Rachel (using the woman on top's identity) supposedly getting a piggy back ride from a friend.

She has gained reputable followers such as ABC7 Eyewitness News and The Black Eyed Peas. She receives replies from others who are enamored by her supposed celebrity connections. She has possibly made friendships with people who she could turn on at any moment as she did with me, and hurt their credibility with her lies. I use the word "possibly" because most often, those who reply to her are really her pretending to be yet another person.

I am hoping that someone out there might know who the woman is that she is pretending to be. That is my number one goal in writing this...the second being that this will put a stop to her current fake profile (though I know she will just start other ones, and when she does, I'll just keep exposing them).

I'm sure whomever the real woman is would not only be upset at having her identity stolen, but also wouldn't enjoy being associated with tweets such as this:

"do u ever watch corn to kill time @ work? 'whats corn?'me 'its when u watch sexy time with a bucket of popcorn'tard"
And this:

 "we should make uniporn vids cuz we so horny"
Can you imagine if someone was posing as you, using your photo, and associating you with such strange tweets?  Yeah, neither can I and again, that's why I'm writing this.

A particular bad Photoshop job from Rachel. Note that the woman on the right appears to have no body.

Below is proof for her current followers that she is not who she claims to be and is stealing photos as she's done in the past. She is also somehow faking her location on Foursquare, Twitter and Instagram. I googled a bit and found that there are apps that allow you to set your phone location to anywhere in the world, which would then throw off the location data for the social media channels she's posting on.

So, a woman in her late 30's to early 40's can sit in her parents' living room in Tustin, California, and pretend to be "halfway around the world" as she put it, hanging out with Lady Gaga's entourage in Australia.

Without further ado, here are the screenshots my husband and I grabbed of some of her Photoshop creations. I honestly don't have the time to track down the URL's for all of these so I'll just post the ones I can find really fast (I saved most of the real pics from my phone so I don't have the URL for all of them). Remember, she is not really the Asian blonde in the pictures...that's the identity she has stolen and the face she is using for these photos.

Click on any photo to enlarge:

To the left, a tweet/Instagram photo of Rachel pretending to be with Lady Gaga at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne, Australia. The real picture to the right is from the Hey Gaga Gallery.

To the left is a photo that Rachel posted where she was supposedly with the star of True Blood, Alexander Skarsgard. To the right is the real photo. Notice that the real photo wasn't even with the Skarsgard. She photoshopped his head as well. (You can see the URL for the real photo on the right at the top.)

One of Rachel's favorite tricks is to zoom in on a photo or crop it in some way to make it less recognizable from the original. Here, at the top of the photo on the left, she says a crowd is gathering outside the Park Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne, Australia, where she supposedly is, waiting for Lady Gaga's arrival. To the right is the original photo from @FoxMelbourne.

Here, Rachel got a bit sloppy. Both are photos she posted. On the left is Luna Park in Sydney, Australia, where she claimed to be. However, when she went to Photoshop herself in front of the face, she accidentally used a photo from Luna Park in Melbourne, which as you can see, looks completely different. Not to mention the Photoshop job was not the best as the left side of her face is drooping badly.

To the left, a photo Rachel posted of Gaga arriving at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. To the right, the real photo from @alexcamenzuli.

To the left, a photo Rachel posted of a fan waiting outside of the Park Hyatt in Melbourne, waiting for Gaga's arrival. To the right, the real photo from @SoniaMarinelli.

To the left, another photo Rachel posted of herself supposedly with True Blood actor Alexandar Scarsgard. To the right, the real photo.

Again, the face is almost always the same (the Asian blonde). Some photos, however, are others who look similar to the blonde that she doesn't even bother Photoshopping. Here she supposedly is at a zoo in Australia:

And here she is on that same day, closer up:

Obviously the close-up warranted a Photoshop job and if you compare the two photos, you see that the outfit is the same, but the face and bangs are completely different.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. (Ha! "I'm so punny!" One of Rachel's favorite sayings).

If you recognize the blonde in these photos, PLEASE contact me via email here. And please, when using social media, be very careful who you trust and believe because I am sure Rachel is not the first to do this and she certainly won't be the last.

Update: Was just told by a friend connected to the earlier identity theft case that Rachel is 32 years old, a 1998 graduate of Tustin High School in Tustin, CA and is still living in Tustin with her parents. If anyone is interested in filing a complaint for the stolen photos, most especially the person she is portraying...if she is found, I will be happy to give you her full name via email.

Update #2: As of July 2, the Twitter account @Team__Jackson has been removed (most likely changed to another name) and the Instagram account has also been changed (which means the links in this article no longer work, which I was expecting to happen). This woman's identity is still being used by Rachel in photographs under another account, however, so please still spread the word to help try to find out who the woman whose identity has been stolen is. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

Her contact is...(714)731-XXXX

Anonymous said...

omg! I cant believe this! I followed her and in one of the pics here from australia at luna park I liked that picture! Wow! I cant believe it.! I really admired her job! And now its crazy to know its all a lie!

Anonymous said...

Wow...just spent an hour reading all the blog entries on this after seeing your post on instagram. What insanity! I would have never even dreamed up something like this.

Anonymous said...

her new twitter account is https://twitter.com/misslondon007. i used to d/m her all the time and i was always suspicious of her and my suspicions were right. anyways i logged onto my old twitter and looked at our old correspondance and this is what her new twitter is. shes using a new girl's pictures. wtf is wrong with her.. lol

Anonymous said...

Disgusting!! What are people thinking when they launch a plan to lie to and deceive as many people as possible? A loser for sure, but she is also a great example of just how creative and resourceful identity thieves can actually be. And let's not assume here for a second that she is anything other than an identity thief. It's an extremely disconcerting notion to me that there are thousands of thieves, just like her, that are up to the very same unscrupulous ways. People, never let your guards down when it comes to you and your social media interaction. Thanks. Here is some good related info http://blog.scoredriven.com/id-guard/identity-theft-social-media-users-at-risk/