Safe from Scams: Officials warn of new trend called digital kidnapping

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Many people post photos of themselves and their loved ones on social media without much thought of where the images could end up. (KFSN)

Many people post photos of themselves and their loved ones on social media without much thought of where the images could end up. But US Postal Inspectors warn there's a disturbing new trend known as digital kidnapping.

"She was talking very provocatively on line to other males. She was posting on dating websites using my daughter's pictures," mother of victim.

A scary prospect for any parent to learn their child's picture is being used by someone else on social media platforms and dating sites.

"The impersonator took some of the pictures of my daughter, also used other pictures that she found online that looked like it could be my daughter-- because they also had long brown hair."

The victims mother did not want to reveal her identity to protect her daughter, but she wants other parents to hear her story to warn other families.

"Her friend told her that she saw somebody on Instagram with her picture but she was saying derogatory things to other Instagram members, and she knew that my daughter was not like that."

The family was stunned to see their daughter's pictures on the account, and more shocked to see the dialog between the account and strangers.

"My daughter was scared because she didn't know who was impersonating her."

First, the family contacted the police. Then they learned the owner of the account knew their daughter. Once the minor involved was contacted, the images and the accounts were removed.

"When she stole my daughter's identity, she was living a completely opposite lifestyle."

Experts say if you don't want photos stolen don't post them. Another tip: use the strictest privacy settings on social media sites.

"The great thing about the Internet is it brings the world closer, and the bad thing about the Internet is it brings the world closer. So we got to be careful about who we are allowing into our homes-- into our businesses," said Bladismir Rojo, US Postal Inspector.

Experts warn, once you post an image, don't think you have any control over the picture. In this case, the account was deleted after the victim's family contacted the account owner.
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