Veteran Finds Facebook Pages Using His Photos to Scam Women - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Veteran Finds Facebook Pages Using His Photos to Scam Women

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    Veteran Finds Facebook Pages Using His Photos to Scam Women

    A man in Forth Worth said he discovered dozens of Facebook pages using his photos in an effort to scam women. But he said Facebook is refusing to take many of the pages down. NBC 5's Samantha Chatman Responds. (Published Friday, May 3, 2019)

    After 40 years of marriage, Terry Hestilow and his wife Becky said they're happier than ever.

    "He's mine. He's my man. Has been for a long time," said Becky. 

    But according to a Facebook profile using her husband's pictures, he's a widow. 

    Another Facebook page says he's single, and apparently looking for love elsewhere.

    "I's an assault upon my character," said Hestilow. "No matter what name they use, they're using my photo."

    Becky said she was the first to learn about these mysterious pages when women started contacting her and her daughters.

    She said the women on Facebook told her that they were messaged by someone who was using Hestilow's photos, and eventually developed a relationship with this person online.

    They thought the person was single, and over time, they said they sent this person thousands of dollars.

    "I had these pages, like two or three pages of people contacting me wanting to know if this was my husband and if we are divorced," Becky explained.  "I just very nicely said, 'I'm sorry. My husband's pictures are being used by hundreds of people and you have been a victim of fraud."

    She said one woman told her she lost $20,000 after meeting someone on Facebook using her husband's photos and convincing her to send him money after months of dating online.

    But after looking up the last name "Hestilow" on Facebook, she found Becky.

    "It's not flattering," said Hestilow. "It's the uniform they're exploiting to pull off the scam."

    He said in many cases, these women thought they were chatting with a retired soldier overseas who was lonely and looking for love online.

    Hestilow said he and his family have reported dozens of pages to Facebook.

    He said the ones that are identical to his real page have been taken down.

    But the profiles using different names with his pictures, he said many of those are still up.

    Hestilow said he received this email from Facebook saying "We reviewed the profile you reported and found that it doesn't go against our community standards."

    "I was angry. I was angry. I knew it was my photograph. I knew that this was a fraud. If they investigate and found that it doesn't violate their community standards, then something is wrong with their community standards," Hestilow said. "Facebook, I want them to recognize that they are being used to defraud them."

    Facebook told NBC 5 there may be a good reason why Hestilow got that email response, or, they may have made a mistake…

    But Facebook said pretending to be another person is explicitly against its policies.

    The site said it's developed technology to specifically combat impersonation and will continue to make improvements.

    Facebook said it removed 1.5 billion fake accounts just last year, and uses facial recognition and machine learning to detect and block these kinds of scams and content.

    But if you type in "Hestilow" on Facebook, the Veteran said several profiles with his pictures remain on Facebook.

    Hestilow said he'll continue to report them and warn as many women as he can about this scam.

    "It's a scam. Don't send them any money! Tell your mother's, don't do it," he said.  

    Facebook told NBC 5 people can report impostor accounts whether they have a Facebook account or not.

    Facebook said last year alone, it increased the number of people who work on security and safety issues to more than 30,000 people.

    So, if you believe that someone is pretending to be you on Facebook, or if you've been defrauded by someone on Facebook, you can report it to Facebook here facebook.com/help/fakeaccount.

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