Ellsworth woman struggles 5 years with identity theft

5:56 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Thanks to social media it is easier than ever to connect with people, but sometimes it is even easier for people to access your personal information and create fake identities. For one woman in Ellsworth this is something she deals with frequently. We first brought you Wendy Jo Davis' story back in 2008, five years later and she's still being victimized by identity thieves.

Wendy Jo Davis said, "It's really weird to see personal pictures, modeling pictures, and they are just faking everything."

For the past five years, Wendy Jo has constantly seen her photographs used all over the internet. One by one she contacts Facebook, Twitter, Match, and other sites to remove the fraudulent profiles.

"I get an e-mail and I'm always like OK here we go again. I'll call the site and try to cancel it, but I know I can't keep up with it," explained Davis.

Police receive thousands of calls a day from citizens saying someone is misusing their personal information, but most police stations can't do anything simply because you need to show who is behind the fraudulent accounts.

Those stealing Wendy Jo's pictures create fake profiles and build relationships with people over the internet. After months or sometimes years they gain the person's trust and then, according to Davis, scams them.

"They say that they have a sick daughter or a sick uncle, like I was saying, and then they say my daughter needs an operation. She's dying, the only way to get it is if I find some money. She's going to die," said Davis.

Some victims of the scams find the real Wendy Jo and explain the situation and how they have been wronged.

"It's so frustrating. I don't want people getting hurt, thinking I'm hurting them," said Davis.

The fraudulent profiles, however, keep popping up and it seems like there is no end in sight.

Already this week Wendy received two e-mails about fake accounts. She has been able to close most of them under this week's fraudulent name.

A tip to protect your online identity, keep your accounts private so only people you know can access your photos. If your account is public, like Wendy's, place a copy right or watermark on your photos so it is more difficult to steal. A simple online search can bring you to watermark creator sites.  

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