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I find it very scary! Luckily she is not in the Country and can not harm you or your family. I think she needs to get professional help.

You are a good person T, with a good heart and gentle soul.

From the posts that were written, I had kinda guessed that she read and posted here and hadnt just come across you randomly. Its very sad - I have encountered people like this on online communities before and as well as affecting those that entrusted them you also cant help but wonder about what a tough time someone must be going through to develop fantasies of this accord.

But, T, please dont become overly compassionate. I think this is beyond you, and I know you want to help and "heal the world!" but you still dont know this person properly. You dont know anything concrete (does she really have children, does she really live where she says?) other than this lady really needs some personal help. Maybe send her some links to counselling services in her area, and leave it as that? You'll be doing something, but not getting too involved. xx

Jeesh! Who knew? This kind of thing is totally beyond me. Glad you are taking it so well - you have lots on your plate right now.

Kind of makes you want to go back to those early days of online innocence when you only had common-or-garden stalkers, doesn't it? On the plus side, how many other people can boast that they have a bona-fide evil twin?

Your post just reinforces my opinion that you are an exceptional woman. How G&D to be famous enough to be impersonated! I'm jealous, terribly jealous!

Hats off to you. I would be HACKED AND FURIOUS AND AND AND. Make sure your philanthropic side doesnt put you and your family at future risk.

the only reason my wife wants a second wife is so i'll leave her the hell alone. is there something you're not telling us about your relationship with marko? (am i getting my call-up as his replacement soon?)

tertia is too nice to say it, and we all know i'm not, so i'll say it for her: it's called therapy. get some. before you really hurt somebody. like ... you know ... yourself.

as for what tertia's reaction ought to be ... well ... when you put yourself on the internet, this is one of the dangers. despite some of our wishes, the internet is not a world of round corners and soft, kid-friendly edges. i, personally, wouldn't have it any other way.

the only other thing i'll point out for t's benefit is this: you can't save the world, unless you're willing to take the world as your pet.

You're a good egg.

Well, now that I know more about her, I'd agree that she is a sad individual.
I'm pleased that you are cross though -

Tersh, you are a good person. A really, really good person. I want to hug you right now because your reaction is exactly right.

Just be careful. You can't rescue this woman. You shouldn't even keep talking to her. What she's done is not something small and if she doesn't get help, it's going to be the gateway to a bigger psychological break. You can't nurture her through this; only a professional can. If she recieves nurture from you, it will only feed her problem.

*hugs* You are a softie; that is why we love you.

If it helps you rest any easier, you have helped this person by calling her on her actions. No doubt if you hadn't she would have continued her charade indefinitely, digging herself further and further into the pit of lies she's created. In the end it would have landed her in an even darker place. You've done what you can. This woman is not your responsibility. Not anymore.

any time we have had an impersonator on any of our boards, we usually feel pretty betrayed. although we know the impersonator is someone who is lonely, wanting attention, and probably harmless...resuming the relationship isn't realistic.

she needs to talk to a professional, not people she's hurt, to try and figure out why she needs to lie about her life. if she is really regretful, that is what she will do.

Man, that's freaky! Take care of yourself, your kids, and your sister. I know you want the blog world to be nice, but protect yourself first! You've a very good person, and trusting, this couldn't happen to a nicer person, but put yourself first in this situation. I don't know about SA, but here in the states, with the info and pictures that are available to this woman, and others, identities can be stolen and what not. This makes me just a little worried for you. I'd hate to see you lost that trust in the world, but do take some precautions, please?

The internet is a funny place (she says, stating the horribly obvious). I think that a lot of actually harmless people end up doing things that, upon reflection, appear to be textbook crazy to the outside world. We know the anonymity aspect gives people the sense that they can trot out their nastiest opinions with impunity, and I think that it sometimes gives them a sense of freedom to do other things that they really ought not.

I don't blame you for your sympathy, though I'd definitely feel a little betrayed, too. That's the part I'm not seeing in this post.

I'm seconding what everyone else has said about not contacting her and it's actually for legit safety/legal reasons. I wrote you a long time ago about my stalker experience with my blog and if I can pass on the piece of legal advice I got from the police, do not contact her at all, do not let her post comments here and do not reply to her emails.

Mostly because if she ever does do anything more creepy to escalate the situation and she can show that you have corresponded with her, then the police have to drop the stalking/harassment charges and she has a perfect defense for any of her past actions.

And just to document what has happened, please do call the police, and your security company and document everything that has happened with them. They wouldn't lay charges at this point, but if she ever tries anything more---you will have evidence already filed. (And add security features to your Facebook pics as well, or any other place you have them.)

I understand that you feel compassion for her and want to help. I recently found out my former stalker is high risk pregnant and I'm sure based on gossip that got back to me, that she is getting poor medical care. As much as I can't stand her, the thought of a baby being at risk kills me, but she is a grown adult and I have to just leave it. I can't save everyone, and it puts me and my family at risk to try to save her---so I have to leave it.

Take care Tertia and email me if you have any questions or if this escalates. We're here for you hon.

Great comment, Aurelia.

Leave it to you to rise above it all. It was soooo hard to see your kids pics with different names and they aren't even personal to me. It did teach me a lesson about the internet though. Thanks for sharing the experience. I'm sure we all learned a thing or two we forget to think about.

Stay safe.

Tertia, you are the very finest grade of asshole. Top-flight!

A friend of mine had her semi-cheesecake pictures stolen for someone else's Flickr account, where people were posting comments about her. Also v. creepy, and hard to remedy.

Hi there T, Well this is a little wierd to say the least. I think that Aurelia has given some very valuble and obvious first hand advice there, but I also agree with you in the sense that I really do pity her. She obviously felt that her own life wasn't attractive enough to help her make any kind of friends and she must be an incredibly lonely person, having to pretend to be somebody else to get any support, or acknowledgement from anybody. All that aside, your first priority is your safety and the safety of your family, sad that in a volatile place like SA, the one place we are supposed to feel safe (indoors and online)is in fact another place we are not safe from harm.*reality bites huh??*
Go well, hope the kids are better.

You have such a good, kind, giving heart. I don't know if I could have handled this situation with as much class as you did.

You know, I felt the same way. It was kind of creepy and weird, but it seemed sad too. If she wanted to connect but not post pictures of herself (and her children??) then why did she just not post any pictures at all? Why poach someone else's pictures?


And sad.

Ah, Tertia, you are nicer than I.

I do feel a little sad for people like that. Are you own lives so terrible that you have to pretend to be someone else?

And also, I figure she must have assumed she'd get caught. If she didn't want to get caught, wouldn't she have picked someone...less well known? Someone who didn't have zillions of people reading her blog daily? You'd have to figure that the law of probability or something would catch up with you.

Obivously she is having some mental/emotional problems. That does not make her an evil person. I'm really glad to see Tertia take the high road here and not rush to judgement. It IS sad, and I hope she gets some help.

So sorry you're having to go through this. I did my thesis on cyberstalking. It can get pretty scary-serious (as you've discovered). Please fight any urges to reach out to her or help her. It will only encourage her.

What does Marko say about all of this?

Honestly, although it is freaky, I think, like you, I would be a bit flattered -- you are a beautiful woman with a beautiful family and maybe she just wanted to pretend to be you for a short period (although she completely crossed every social line in doing so). But haven't we all wished we were someone else at some point in our lives? It is sad, and I'm sure she's feeling bad today.

Hi Tertia.

I agree with Aurelia too. Talking of prevention, it is impossible to prevent someone who is determined to take your posted material, but there are things you can do to discourage them. One of them is 'watermarking' your photos. You can find a lot of useful suggestions on the web, including making it difficult for your audience to 'right click' your photos to download them. Ciao. Anna


Delurking to say that this is really creepy and I'm so sorry it happened to you. But, you need to contact Baby Centre right away and get them to remove all traces of her. She still has a fake profile showing a picture of Marko and your beautiful twins. They need to take the time to erase all traces of the phony from their message boards.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but GET A GRIP!!! Your first duty is to your children and husband- this woman sounds dangerous!!!! In the states, we have horrendous stalking crimes occur by very depraved people. You need to protect yourself and your family and you should under no circumstances talk to her EVER again!!! Sorry, I just hate when the criminal becomes the "victim"!!!

You are the third mom-blogger I've read that has experienced someone stealing their kids' pictures. It sees that this type of cyberstalker pulls these stunts for attention.

She is probably getting a kick out of reading all this attention directed toward her. (I'd be surprised if she doesn't try to fake a name and comment on this very post.) Pull down every mention of her here, make sure Baby Centre erases her profile altogether and if she dares contacts you via email again you must tell her NOT to contact you or borrow your content again, then cut her off entirely.

Hey 'Tabitha', leave my family alone! I am sorry you are lonely or sad or don't yet have your dream family. But, you have violated our trust and our space and what you have done is fundamentally wrong.
You have betrayed us and you have betrayed the people who supported you for the past 3 years. You owe my sister a BIG apology.
Tertia I know you are an arsehole but you need to break all contact with her. Do it or I am telling Mom!

Well, it may be because I am a cold-blooded lawyer… but I feel a lot of things about this issue and none of them is sadness. Everybody has an image of a poor, solitary woman living in fantasyland and it may be so but the fact is that we do not know anything about this person; it could be a teenager or an old woman in retirement having a laugh right now with all this attention or a middle-aged pervert trying to get information from innocent women. We do not where he/she lives or how long she/he has being doing the same thing in different sites.
Tertia, you have iron gates in your home to protect your family from strangers, right? I think it is time for you to take similar measures in your “second home”, the Internet…
Or we will all write to your mom!

I think your parents raised some very compassionate and loving children. I am amazed.

Wow-- just caught up on this.
I agree that she seems sad, but it is also true that nobody has any clue who she really is-- her previous identity could be made up too.
I am sorry you have been betrayed in this very personal way. And I do hope she (assuming it's a her) gets some much needed help.

On the one hand, I have to admit that I'm not surprised this happened, given the extent of information that you've post on the 'net. Don't get me wrong -- I love your blog and appreciate your openness, but that doesn't mean I don't think that that openness has no downside.

As for this creepy person, though I think it's more likely that he/she (Have you or has Mel actually met this person? Do you *know* it's a woman...?) is creepy but harmless than both creepy and harmless...you don't know that. Your children's pictures and, in a sense, identities were stolen; heaven forbid anyone would try anything with your actual children...but...such things have happened. In my opinion, you do not want any contact whatsoever with this person, and I do think it's a good idea to be cautious about how much personal information one posts on the 'net.

And if he or she is reading, no one could have gotten this far without appreciating that lots of Tertia fans think this person needs therapy/help. I think that's pretty much all anyone could do (advise seeking help) anyway.

Unless you spoke with her in person, how do you know she is even a "she"? How do you know she lives where she says she does, etc.? Be careful, Tertia. Just be careful.

The person who has done this deserves no sympathy. Identity theft is a huge issue on the Internet and very difficult to deal with. You have to take care of yourself and your family first and foremost. This person deserves no sympathy for her actions. She needs help, but not yours.

Im really sorry too Tertia. To find out that one of our closest confidants could dupe us like this is so hurtful and deceitful. It has been the biggest stab in the heart. She was so trusted and claimed to be such a true Christian. No one would ever have suspected that she was leading a delusional double identity. She really wanted to be you...which is sad that she feels the need to carry this deception out. She has hurt the people that cared for her the most. She has made us all feel untrusting to anyone now on the net. One of us had even met her in real life. So you just never know...exactly who someone really is in this cyberworld.
I know she is reading this and I implore you to please seek help. You need professional medical help. God cannot save you this time. That devil that you claim has made you do this doesnt didnt do this. It is all in your mind..you are responsible for this. You need HELP...please seek it before you hurt anyone else.

Go to the police. This is not a joke. This is not a minor incident. Someone stole your personal information and then had the gall to contact you. They are seriously disturbed and while I wouldn't run off into the woods yet, you do need to take steps to protect your family from this person. They are not a rational person. You cannot assume to know anything about them.

I don't want to freak you out but think of the information this person has. They have photos of you, they know your name, they could work out your date of birth easily, it wouldn't be hard to get your address, they know your mobile number, where you work, your job title, where you went to school, what degrees you have and where you got them... Between your blog & facebook what else do you think someone would need to steal your identity?

While it's nice to have blogging friends on facebook, I would seriously befriend anyone I hadn't had substantial personal contact with. And I'm one of those people you should defriend. There's too much potential for someone to seriously cause you problems.

I am constantly astounded at the information people put out there. Is the attention and praise from total strangers worth the potential danger? You have NO control over who is looking at what and a three second Whois search can often reveal someone's home address. Frankly I'm amazed something like this hasn't happened sooner. Please be careful.

You really are a wonderful and compassionate woman T, but you need to protect both yourself and your family! I'm sure Marko is none too happy about having his picture out there as someone else's man! I hope you manage to resolve this issue soon, because whoever this person is, is sick!

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