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Brush with identity theft is frightening

ALLIE MCPHEE
Last updated 05:00 25/03/2014
Nicole Wilcox
NO FUN: Nicole Wilcox is a spook at a theme park but received a real life shock over online identity theft.

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A Romanian broadcaster's website is accused of stealing photos of Albany resident Nicole Wilcox and creating a fake story around it.

Ms Wilcox says the article uses a photo of her to illustrate a story about a Romanian girl who had dressed herself up and scared her parents in the middle of the night causing her to be kicked out of her home, events Miss Wilcox says never occurred.

The 20-year-old "spook" from Spookers Haunted Attraction Theme Park, experienced the online identity theft after she posted photos of herself in skeleton themed makeup on the entertainment social network service, Reddit.

"I posted a picture of my make up on Reddit and someone recognised my photo and messaged me saying, ‘You're famous in Romania'," says Miss Wilcox. "I was quite upset that someone thought it was okay to take my picture and make up some false story, even though it wasn't offensive or whatever," she says.

The article went as far to say that Miss Wilcox had almost given her mother a heart attack as a result of her actions.

"Her parents were terribly frightened, and her mother was on the verge of a heart attack, feeling worse several hours after this," the article says.

According to the NZ Police website, identity theft, online and offline, is one of the fastest growing areas of crime across the globe and one of the most difficult crimes for police to investigate.

Miss Wilcox says she would still post pictures of herself online.

"If I posted a picture I would have to be completely happy that someone was gonna take it and use it elsewhere."

- Allie McPhee is an AUT journalism student.

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