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Child "Digitally Kidnapped" By Man Posing As Father

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A case of Digital Kidnapping has one Dallas mother on alert after a man downloaded her daughter's pictures and posted them on his Facebook page. The stranger who lives in New York claimed her 4-year-old daughter was his child.

"It was my daughter! All over his page," exclaimed Danica Patterson. "It's scary. That's the only thing I can really say, it's scary."

The man even added comments to support that Patterson's daughter was his.

"Y'all can't say ma daughter not ma twin," read one post.

"Ma daughter gunna break y'all sons hearts…" read another.

Patterson says someone tipped her off after discovering the pictures and sent her screen shots.

An attorney specializing in social media, John Browning, called it "digital kidnapping".

"It's occurring nationwide. And it's, sadly, creepy but not directly illegal," he said.

Browning said Texas law protects people from impersonation, but not from those pretending they're related to you.

"It kind of falls through the cracks there… very much in a gray area," he said.

The one thing Patterson can do is complain to Facebook, and she has.

"They're telling me to report the pictures specifically, which I can't do because he blocked me," she said.
"The only way I can report anything is by reporting his whole profile."

Patterson said she's enlisted dozens of friends to report the page.

Facebook's only response – according to Patterson - said the profile meets its "community standards".

"Facebook sees no problem with this man pretending this little girl is his," said Patterson.

She's sharing her story tonight, hoping it will reconsider.

Patterson says her mistake was assuming because her profile was private, her posts would be too.

To make sure you're not accidentally broadcasting private information, check the drop down menu on the bottom right hand corner of a post to make sure it is limited to only your friends.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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