Identity theft isn’t always about social insurance numbers. It can also be about social networking.
As social networking integrates as part of our mainstream culture, we often go into these sites with trusting eyes. If you search out names on Facebook, you will find a myriad of NHL players. However, a recent Google search of “Facebook, NHL” exposes a growing blogosphere of stories about fake identities: people posing as these celebrity athletes. It plays into the old adage, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you think you’re in the real Sidney Crosby’s friend list, you probably aren’t.
“People have asked me if I’m on Facebook,” says Calgary Flames right winger Jarome Iginla. “I guess my name is on it. I don’t go on it so, I don’t know too much about it. My sister told me she goes on it. I don’t know what can be done, but I’m not on there.”
The problem for some of these players can be obvious. Someone misrepresenting someone else to another person who believes it to be the real deal opens the door for anything.
If one knows some of these players personally, sometimes you can tell when you go on “their” site and see some of the postings. There is no way some of the words used on the most popular Jarome Iginla Facebook site would ever be used by Iginla himself, at least not publicly.
“I don’t know how much I can do about it. You don’t want your identity used.”
Teammate Alex Tanguay agrees if you’re in the public eye, you have to be aware and hope that nothing comes bad out of your name, even if it’s not you posting the information.
“Hopefully people can be respectful of the privacy of the people – hockey players and celebrities. It’s weird to say, but we’re kind of celebrities in Canada in the way that people like hockey. You don’t want to get yourself in trouble with Facebook or anything like that. It’s like anything else. There’s always someone looking to create some trouble for others.”
Ottawa Senators’ Mike Fisher and Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mats Sundin have tried to get their page shut down. However, that is difficult to do. Shut one down and another one opens. And there’s likely no legal recourse until someone tries to use it for financial gain.
But Tanguay, who has a couple of sites listed, insists he has never been on Facebook. “I don’t know what’s going on. I’ll probably start looking into it now that those guys (Fisher and Sundin) are looking. If there’s somebody, it’s not me out there.”
The same can be said for most of the others.