Troll steals woman’s Facebook photos to harass U.K. footballers

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not when it draws the ire of police.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not when it draws the ire of police.

Lily Thomas, a 20-year-old bartender from Wales, discovered that her Facebook photos were stolen by an unknown Internet troll named “Hayley McKay.” The fraudster used Thomas’s likeness to enter a beauty contest and pose as English football players’ girlfriends. She—or he—also claimed to be the niece of famed Scottish football manager Ally McCoist.

“I want to know, ‘Why me?’” said Thomas to WalesOnline. “Out of anyone she could have done it to … and I would like to tell her to stop doing it.” 

The impostor caught Thomas’s attention when friends pointed out photos that looked suspiciously like her in a ballot for a Scottish Sun–sponsored Miss Scotland beauty contest. (Thomas says she’s never been to Scotland.)

After digging deeper into McKay’s identity, she found out the hoaxer was romantically linking herself to popular footballer players—all of whom were in relationships.

“This is so disturbing to me because the real wives and girlfriends of these players were all seeing my photograph being used to make these ridiculous claims,” exclaimed a single Thomas. “I’ve never dated a footballer and I certainly don’t want other women to hate me like this.”

The fake Twitter account has since been deleted.

“McKay” also posted pictures of herself to a blog, writing that she had her ovaries removed and thanking readers for their prayers. The fake identity became so widespread that the real Thomas received accusations that she herself was a fake user. (She’s since deactivated her Twitter, too.)

“This is really sick stuff,” opined Thomas. “She hasn’t stolen my identity for financial gain, but this is just as sinister.”

A South Wales Police spokesperson said the matter is under investigation. 

Photo via Twicsy

Jordan Valinsky

Jordan Valinsky

A former editorial operations specialist and staff writer for the Daily Dot, Jordan Valinsky is a tech reporter and web culture commentator. His work has been published by the Week, Digiday, CNNMoney, Popular Mechanics, Vice, Mic, and Betabeat.