Chelsea Hunter…Facebook Fraud?

Freddie Alvarado, Katie Welz, Elissa Chudwin, Managing Editor, News Editor, Entertainment Editor

Facebook has over 500 million active users with an average of 130 friends who spend 700 billion minutes socially connecting per month. Facebook has entered our lives, for better or worse. Glancing through many of Joliet West student’s profile, this does not come as a shock; some students have as many as 1,000 friends and post status updates hourly as if it was a personal diary.

It’s common practice for students to add people they don’t know to their friend lists. It may not seem as dangerous as accepting candy from a stranger, but let’s think about it for a moment. You’re giving someone you don’t know complete access to your friends, interests, school, and pictures. It’s essentially a window to your life, and although your “friends” may not see the whole picture, they’re able to receive a decent snapshot.

Let’s use this recent situation: a girl by the name of Chelsea Hunter friend requests you on Facebook. She claims that her father moves around a lot due to his job. She says she’s from Alton, IL and that she’ll be starting at Joliet West on either Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. What’s odd is she has no friends from her previous High school, two pictures, improper usage of smiley’s, and a tendency to use the word “lol” after everything. After first creating her Facebook, she accumulated 72 “friends,” mostly seniors from Joliet West. It’s almost like she isn’t real. To add to the strangeness of the whole situation, she responds within minutes of you messaging her, no matter the time, as if she’s logged on all day.

Who is Chelsea Hunter? In a recent investigation, student investigators looked into this “Chelsea” who is supposedly a junior, recently enrolled at West. What information we found was quite astonishing. It turns out, the student was never registered through West, nor has the student attempted to register. Currently, there is only one high school located in Alton, Illinois. In a recent phone call to the student’s old high school, our student investigators discovered that a student by the name of Chelsea Hunter has not been in attendance of this high school at least, within the last few years.  This is strange considering “Chelsea” claims she as just moved to Joliet from Alton, where there is only one high school. With this information, we became very suspicious.

Recently, West students have uncovered that this person really isn’t who they say they are. Writing on her wall, students let the imposter know that they are not fooling anyone. Darious Moulton, a senior at Joliet West who was added by “Chelsea,” and wrote on her wall stated, “Even though I know who it is, I think it’s pretty funny. If you don’t have anything to hide, then I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.” Soon after this event, Chelsea claimed that she was again moving. “She” wrote, “Why does my dad have to change his mind so much and take a different job.” This being said, Chelsea’s new “friend” count has dropped to only 56. However, there are still 56 people allowing this person, whoever they may be, access to their life. 

According to Facebook’s statements of rights and policy, “You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.” Violation of the statements of rights can lead to the account being disabled. Another statement that is violated through a fake account also under the statements of rights and policy is, “If you collect information from users, you will: obtain their consent, make it clear you (and not Facebook) are the one collecting their information, and post a privacy policy explaining what information you collect and how you will use it.”. In simple terms, the photo of a username must be obtained with their consent, if failure to do so, the account can be reported and disabled. This could be a student prank, the police, or really an imposter.  However, the student body should know that social networks can put you at risk, therefore as a student on Facebook, “make sure you know who you add”.