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PHOENIX — A father in Arizona is warning other parents after he says a scammer stole photos of his 3-year-old daughter from social media and used them to meet women.
According to KTVK, the father, Dallas Taylor, said the scammer is using his daughter as bait in an online phenomenon known as “catfishing.”
“Catfishing” is when someone uses a social media profile, such as Facebook, to create a false online identity.
Often the trick is used to fool someone into an online relationship. The phenomenon became a national talking point when it was considered a driving force behind the hoax of Notre Dame star football player Manti Teo’s imaginary girlfriend.
Taylor said he came across a fake social media profile named “Sam Ryan,” who claimed he was the single father of a little girl named Emery. Taylor told KTVK that the pictures on Ryan’s profile are of Taylor and his daughter.
He was alerted to the profile after several people contacted him saying they’d seen his photos on another person’s social media profile.
Taylor told the station it appears the person uses multiple fake identities, which he switches whenever someone becomes suspicious of the scam. He told KTVK the man apparently uses the single dad with a cute daughter identity to meet women.
KTVK obtained a phone number for Sam Ryan as posted by women who had previously complained about the scam. The station said no one answered when called.
Taylor said he tried contacting Facebook and Instagram regarding the stolen photos, but hasn’t received a response, according to KTVK.
“When my daughter’s mom is calling me saying they can’t sleep at night and they’re worried about being at home, worried for their safety, it’s an issue. It needs to be stopped,” Taylor told KTVK.