Internet Law

Stalkers steer sex-seeking strangers to victims’ homes through false online ads

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About 100 men showed up at a Virginia women’s home expecting sex after her vengeful ex-boyfriend duplicitously solicited them using her identity.

Frightened by her unwanted and in some cases aggressive visitors (one came with a crowbar and another rammed her security gate), the woman is one of a growing number of victims whose stalkers use false social media accounts as a means to harass and terrorize them, the Washington Post reports.

Other accounts include a 33-year-old mother of four whose ex-husband posted ad after ad on Craigslist with her photo and address under the headline, “Rape Me and My Daughters.” Additional web posts on sites like XTube and Facebook included photos of her children and offered them up for sex in exchange for cash. The woman only discovered the false adverts after an unknown man showed up at her home, followed by at least 50 others, including some who attempted to break in, emboldened by the fake “Rape Me” post, according to the report. Though some sites removed the fake posts promptly at her request, others required extensive documentation, including copies of her ID and her protective order case number.

With online impersonations by stalkers expected to climb as more people become familiar with social media, about half a dozen states have passed laws against internet impersonation. Those include Texas, New York and California, the Post reports, citing a Texas case of two middle school students who created a fake Facebook account for a fellow student to harass classmates. While the social media giant has created a reporting system to flag fraudulent profiles, Craigslist did not respond to repeated requests by the Post for comment.

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