Aims to help both victims and targets of individuals whose goal is to either defraud financially or for self gratification, through a fake profile using pictures stolen from others to create a new identity.
There are two kinds of victim here.
Firstly, the individual who is drawn in to either the financial scam, of which there are multiple types but a common outcome and also victims that are exploited by individuals on a personal level, usually for sexual gratification of some kind although his can involve a more complex need being fed, and also an easy way for bullies and trolls to attack at will, which can have fatal outcomes, especially for our younger generations.
Some fake profiles are also used as a stepping stone to meet people off line once trust has been built through a grooming process, which people of all ages are vulnerable to, however there is no support available legally or otherwise for victims of grooming in this way, once you have reached 16 (with few exceptions).
For these victims, my project and campaigning provides support, a non-judgmental listening ear from someone who has been through this themselves, and advice for next steps.
I also offer advice and support for any other concerns they have moving forward, with regards to other profiles on any platforms as to the authenticity.
I would like more time to offer victims and targets an even better service. Currently I do this in my own time for free and have to work around this for a salary. Funding to cover a few days work here would be incredibly helpful so I can give more time an energy to expand my social media, which is where victims access my service and cover costs. The last thing victims need is more financial worries after their experience and waiting lists for therapy and counselling are long and/or costly. Sometimes victims need my ‘stepping stone’ and find that having me to listen is enough. If I can expand and get enough funding to offer a qualified counsellor as well, should they need this moving forward, and a lawyer who can advise if some cases are worth pursuing, that would be amazing too.
The second type of victim is the person who’s pictures have been stolen. Often the popular used public figures will end up receiving messages from victims who believe they may be the scammers themselves. Family and friends can also be contacted claiming their loved one is having affairs etc, which can be damaging to their own relationships.
Help for everyone.
New fake profiles are being created on mass everyday. The reporting processes on all platforms are limited at best and take far too long to be removed in the conventional way and mainly only if they have a blue ticked profile on that particular platform which makes it easy for the algorithm to match.
I would like to set up a process for removal of profiles on all platforms, where experienced eyes are able to recognise fakes and faces in a human manner. Profile links can be listed for removal, and passed to an employee at the platform to process. This process is being actioned through an Instagram and Facebook contact currently but Twitter and LinkedIn have yet to agree to participate in a similar. A bigger aim would be to get all platforms involved as scammers and individuals will attempt to access any online service with a chat facility to access targets.
Being able to do this helps every one. We are all tired of requests from fake people and scams.
Long term campaigning will hope to see some better regulation for the sign up process in the first instance, but meantime, this issue is escalating at a crazy speed and we need to do something to dent it.
The police are not able to help with out of jurisdiction cases of fraud, so we need to help.
Current legislation has loopholes for exploitation through fake profiles, so we need to change things.