Fake dating profiles lead to identity theft concerns

Identity theft is always a concern, but it's not always your financial information that is at risk. Just today one Fox 5 employee had her personal identity compromised. What happened to her can happen to anyone.

"My boyfriend wasn't too happy to find that my face was circulating on a dating site," said Cara Viscardo.

The day after Thanksgiving, Fox 5 producer Cara Viscardo learned that she'd grown seven inches, reverse-aged six years, and now worked as a waitress.

"It's not flattering. It's just horrifying, and I want it to be taken down," said Viscardo.

Cara discovered this account on the dating site "Plenty of Fish" using her name, her state of residence, and what was most unsettling , at least four photos of her.

"One of those pictures I haven't seen in a decade," she said.

Thanks to a message from a friend from high school, Cara was able to find out about her stolen identity.

"He knew that it wasn't me on a dating site and let me know that someone was using my identity and it freaked him out as much as it freaked me out," she said.

"You might not be the end game in the procedure. Your identity could actually be a tool to harm others," said Social Media Attorney Pedram Tabibi.

Tabibi also said that the more pictures we post to our Facebook pages and the more information we share about ourselves on various websites, the more vulnerable we leave ourselves to identity theft, a crime with serious legal ramifications IF victims can find the person responsible.

"They could be violating your intellectual property rights by using your copyrighted images. They could be violating your publicity rights. They could be committing a crime." Tabibi continued.

To prevent against longer-term damages, Tabibi recommended we all Google our names on a regular basis to see if it returns anything surprising.

"Each particular company usually has a procedure to remove impostor accounts," said Tabibi.

In an email, a Plenty of Fish spokeswoman wrote, "If you believe someone has used your identity to create a fake profile, you should immediately report the profile to our customer service team."

Plenty of Fish's customer service team then theoretically removes the reported profiles if deemed in violation of the site's terms of service.

Eight hours after Cara contacted Plenty of Fish, she received notification that the site permanently removed the fake profile using her identity.