Identity theft, also known as “catfish”, often creates many significant problems. If you are a public figure or an influential person on social networks, these problems can multiply. We invite you to find out what these personalities are experiencing on the Internet and the consequences of identity theft that has been going on for years.
Identity theft on social networks
Perhaps you have dealt with digital identity theft before, or you know someone who has been a victim of it. This is harm that affects two categories of victims:
The person whose identity was forged. She is the first victim of identity theft. The perpetrator can damage his image, reputation, peace of mind and well-being. Very often, when a digital identity is stolen, the perpetrator tries to defraud a third person by extracting information or money from it.
Digital identity theft is commonly committed using a phishing technique (also known as a “phishing” technique) or by creating a fake website and / or profile on a social network. We can also find the term “catfish” to denote this digital identity theft. As we are in the age of social networks, this scam is more common and anything but harmless. As you will see, sometimes it makes life impossible for many internet users.
The women on OnlyFans are held accountable to strangers
Recently, our colleagues at Vice carried out a detailed study of the Castfish. They were able to contact Sabrina Nichole, a former Playboy model who now has an OnlyFans account.
This interview is extremely illuminating in terms of the extent to which the catfish can take up the life of a person with an OnlyFans account. For Vice, Sabrina Nichole explains the following facts in particular:
It’s completely beyond me. (…) Before that I got into it because it really annoyed me. Now I’ve given up. There is no point in talking to them. (…) It’s so bad that I can’t even register with dating apps. (…) I’ve heard that people spent thousands of dollars on catfish and I’m sorry for them.
Sabrina Nichole is indeed a very regular victim of digital identity theft. Cyber criminals reportedly managed to extort thousands of dollars from many people around the world by impersonating him. Obviously, the same people who have been betrayed turn to Sabrina Nichole to be accountable to them while the young woman knows nothing. The victims often sent money because they believed they had a special relationship with Sabrina Nichole. For example, an internet user will think of paying for a plane ticket so Sabrina Nichole can join him in his home country, but the money will mysteriously fly away. Another will think that the money will be used by the family of the young woman who is up to her neck in debt, while it will only serve to enrich the cybercriminal who has borrowed a false identity.
While Sabrina Nichole is one of the most revealing examples of identity theft, the old model is far from the only one facing such an issue. Many influencers, as well as those with OnlyFans accounts, have seen similar events.
Numerous testimonials in France and abroad
In France, several personalities and influencers have already mentioned the problems associated with identity theft. Astrid Nelsia, a French reality TV candidate who now has her own OnlyFans account, had already complained about catfish-related problems in 2018. One person had indeed created a fake account that was quickly followed by thousands of people and promised all fans of the young woman fake iPhones at a reduced price. The latter had tried to alert her fans by posting a photo of the fake account in question in her story, but the damage had already been done.
Since OnlyFans was founded, many people (and the vast majority of women) have encountered identity theft-related issues. Some internet users actually manage to get the photos resulting from a subscription and use them on social networks to attract as many people as possible. The repercussions are severe for those whose identity has been stolen: social media attacks, physical threats, and in some cases even death threats.
What does French law say about the crime of digital identity theft?
In France, since the LOPPSI II law of 2011, the perpetrator, a natural person, has been sentenced to one year imprisonment and a fine of € 15,000. The penalty can be a fine of € 75,000 if the perpetrator is a legal person (i.e. a group of private individuals, such as a company or an association, that has rights and obligations).
Despite this 2011 law, online identity theft remains a real scourge. More drastic measures should certainly be taken to avoid this, but what can we really imagine? In order to verify the digital identity of every person on social networks, there should be an effective means of control that continues to guarantee the protection of a user’s data and respect their freedom on the Internet. The debate is open on the same issue that is fueling our discussions in France today on regulating access to pornographic websites.