Fake Online Identities Can Hit Anyone on Social Media

Updated: 01/17/2013 10:43 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

Computer experts say it's easy to create a fake on-line identity using other people's information, but finding the culprit is hard.

In the wake of Notre Dame football player Manti Teo's embarrassment, computer experts say there isn't much you can do to avoid having your identity stolen for online networking purposes, if you use popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter. And, short of legal action, it is very hard to find the people behind the hoax, if you fall for it.

Mark Lanterman of Computer Forensics says it usually takes legal action to gain access to the computers, or phones, a person might suspect have been used in an online hoax. Then, Lanterman says, you have to prove the person who owns the device was the one using it at the time the hoax was created. He says you need a subpoena or a warrant to gain access to the computers and then conduct a forensic analysis to fully prove were the hoax generated.

Lanterman says there really isn't much you can do to protect yourself from someone stealing your on-line identity. He says there isn't much criminal investigators can do either, unless the person behind the hoax has committed some type of crime.