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Irene Rubaum-Keller Headshot

A New Type of Identity Theft

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You don't have to be famous for this to happen to you, but it helps. What is happening on Facebook, My Space, Twitter, and elsewhere online, is that people are impersonating celebrities. People are claiming to be Angelina Jolie, Michael Keaton, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Richard Gere, George Clooney and on and on. They use the name, or a version of the name that is very close, the celeb's photo and all the correct information they can get from an easy Google search. The technology is moving faster than it can be policed and people are getting away with amazing things.

For example, someone was claiming to be Mike Keaton on Facebook. They used Michael's photo, correct birth date, accurate hometown and imdb information for current career news. As an investigative reporter, I infiltrated this Mike Keaton (aka became friends with) and here is a sampling of his status updates:

"Droppin a deuce."

"Looking for a good time."

"Mike is flickin the bean." (I had to look that one up.)

"I am dropping ten friends a day. If you want to stay friends you have to convince me as to why you deserve to stay. You can send nude pics, etc..."

The one that really got me going was, "I am now on Twitter. Follow me." This person started a Twitter account as Michael Keaton. Funny thing because I had been following the real Michael Keaton on Twitter for some time. He doesn't Tweet much but when he does he is never, "droppin a deuce" or "flickin the bean". He posts some interesting and intelligent things. Meanwhile fake Mike Keaton had close to 3,000 friends on Facebook and from what his friends were saying, they fully believed it was Michael Keaton.

Currently Danny DeVito and Georges Clooney are selling things to their thousands of friends. It blows my mind what these people are getting away with and thousands of unsuspecting people are buying it.

Don't let this happen to you! The best way I know to keep tabs on this for yourself, is to Google yourself frequently. If you are famous you should have this going on daily. You don't want to find out that thousands of people now think you are a dweeb because you are pimping porno sites or posting adolescent status updates. If you aren't famous, this can still happen to you. Google yourself. Keep yourself safe!

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