Open Imagination

Real Life Stories of Change

“I Was Impersonated Online” – Dinah Mohd

Confronted and threatened by an angry stranger online, it suddenly dawned on Dinah that her identity was stolen.

Suddenly threatened

It started off as messages left in her Facebook inbox to meet from a complete stranger. Dinah*, then 19, did not reply his incessant hounding and blocked him off her social media accounts to get away from the harassment. Things took an ugly turn when he used a new account to vent his anger on her: “He told me off and threatened that he knew where I lived. He said he would harass me if he ever saw me outside.”

Dinah stuck to her plan and paid no attention to his abusive messages, which stopped eventually. However, it was not to be her last encounter with online harassment.

Aggressively accused

Two years later, a bout of aggressive profanity-riddled messages appeared in her inbox. Typed out mostly in uppercase and accusing her of lying to him, she tried to make sense of the situation by talking to him and calmly stating that he got the wrong person. “He met this girl who had been impersonating me and they got together in an 'online relationship.' He had also been transferring money to her before she disappeared from cyberspace.”

Taking action to stop the abuse

The man continued to verbally attack her online even after she had asked for the contact details of her impersonator to report her to the authorities. That was when she decided to put an end to things by calling up mutual friends they had on Facebook. She informed them of the truth and got his phone number with their help.

Together with family members and a cousin in the police force, Dinah called him and put the conversation on speaker mode. She firmly told him she was impersonated and to stop harassing her otherwise she would report the matter to the police. He promptly halted all contact with her.

A lesson in discretion

The two incidents made Dinah realise the importance of having a support system of people she trusts. “If you are a victim of cyber bullying or cyber harassment, share information with your loved ones so they can be alerted and come up with a solution together with you.” She is now more wary of the information she shares online and the pictures she uploads on social media, making sure she does not tag the location she is in in real time.

“Please think twice before you share your life online,” she advised. “There might be others who would use these details to impersonate you, or take advantage of you.”

*Real name not displayed to protect her identity.

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