My bikini pics were stolen & used by catfishers to make 12 fake dating profiles… it was scary and disturbing
A FITNESS coach was left “disturbed” after catfishing dating profiles used images of her stolen from her Instagram page.
Sarah Harker, 32, said that she was initially amused after her friend spotted her on Tinder.
But once she shared the screenshot with her social media followers, more fake accounts using her pictures were uncovered.
“I first received a text from my friend with a screenshot of the Tinder profile and I laughed,” she said.
“If I’m honest I was more offended that they put my age at 38. But once I shared that picture with my 7,000 followers on Instagram people started messaging me to say they’d seen me on other sites.”
Sarah, who is in a happy relationship, added: “Whilst it could be seen as a form of flattery it’s also extremely dangerous for my business as people may believe that these profiles are a representation of me and I have no idea what is being said in messages being sent from these accounts.
“One message I received said this catfish was trying to arrange a meeting. That’s when I lost all humour about it.”
In total, she discovered that 12 separate profiles were using pictures of her in a bikini, and ones of her with her dogs – all taken from her Instagram page @sarahlouskitchen.
“I was on Bumble and Hinge as well as Tinder,” she added.
“I found it disturbing to realise just how dangerous this could be and that people could be talking to these profiles believing that it was me on the other side of them.
“I don’t like to think that my face could be used to put someone in a potentially dangerous situation.”
But when Sarah contacted the dating apps to let them know that she was being impersonated, she claims she was told by Tinder that they couldn’t do anything unless she was a member and reported it directly.
“I shouldn’t have to be a member to be able to report a profile that was falsely impersonating me,” Sarah sighed.
“I was seriously concerned that these profiles were able to be set up without any form of identification being used.”
Sarah did create accounts to report any that she was aware of but worries that more could crop up at any time.
“Knowing there are so few protections in place when you are cloned online has left me feeling really strange about the world of social media,” she added.
“These platforms should be implementing more stringent checks for security in this day and age to protect everyone involved.”
“If someone believes they are being impersonated on Tinder, they should contact our support team with relevant details here.
“From there, our team will promptly search for and remove any matching profile.
“Additionally, we encourage our members to look for the ‘blue tick’, which indicates that the member’s profile image is genuine and has been verified by Tinder, through our Photo Verification programme.”
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