Issues around privacy on social media sites and internet security have been highlighted again in a bizarre case of a woman using pictures of someone else's children in an attempt to pass them off as her own. Zara Warhurst and her sister Claire Durrant were unaware that the photos of their children were being copied from their Facebook posts.
Warhurst, who lives in Barnsley, is the mother to twin girls, Nancy and Ruby. She told the Gazette Live that a woman, thought to be from the Liverpool area, had been using pictures of one of her twins along with those of Claire's two-year-old son, Romeo, and pretending they were twins called Jack and Bonnie.
"It's just so weird. I have been trying to make sense of it but can't," Warhurst told the Gazette Live, adding ""It has been going on for months but we have only just found out."
According to Warhurst, they were alerted about the photo use by a woman in Manchester who told them someone was using pictures of her children, pretending they were her own to create a "fake life".
Warhurst said: "She was uploading pictures with statuses like 'my world' and 'mummy's little sugar plum'."
The woman had posted a number of pictures on her Instagram account, which have since been removed, according to the Gazette Live. In screen grabs posted by the local paper, the woman appears to have concocted an elaborate web of lies. In one picture of Durrant's son pushing his cousins in a pushchair, the caption reads: "Off out for the day with grandad and Leighton time to clean up and sort this house out."
Following the revelation, a relative of the women contacted their copycat to demand answers, but she claimed to have no knowledge of the situation. However, the pictures were subsequently removed.
Warhurst reported the incident to police, however, she was told no crime had been committed. Because the photos had posted the pictures publicly, there was no legal reason why they could not be used.
Despite this, she said she remained worried. She said: "What worried me is what if this person gets it into her head that they are really her kids and she wants them back?" she said.
"What if she came up here and tries to get them?
"I just can't forget about it.
"It's scary. This is someone who we don't know doing this for a reason we don't know and probably never will."