The Year Someone Stole My Identity on Myspace

Evie M.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

“Why did you create another profile on Myspace?” My best friend, Michael, and I sat in the grand outdoor pavilion at the heart of the high school grounds. We noshed on Flaming Hot Cheetos drizzled with a generous helping of nacho cheese, and I put down my fork to give him a quizzical look.

“Wait, what?”

“Yeah, you sent me a request. Why do you sound surprised?”

Oh but I was. When I created my page, I had no intentions to create any duplicates.

“Wow, weird,” he said, “I’ll show you after school.”

I spent the remainder of the day fretting. Who could possibly do such a thing? I thought back to the day my sister infected our computer with a Trojan virus. Our aging male piano teacher had to help us remove it due to the continuous windows of hardcore porn that would pop up and interrupt our lesson.

I fully expected it to not be a huge deal. I would go home with Michael and find the profile posted a photo of a porn star with the tag: “When you see what’s wrong with this picture, you won’t believe your eyes”. I’d remove it, we’d laugh. End of story.

I was 16 and unsure of how viruses worked, but this seemed the most likely explanation. After school, Michael drove me to his house. What we discovered was something else entirely.

This account wasn’t the slapdash work of a couple of hackers, no. This was a fully realized profile. They had posted the same pictures from my profile, and used an html background similar to the one I had on my own account. They knew details about my interests that were so specific it was eerie.

“Oh my god,” Michael said as I browsed, “Wait, go back to the main page.”

“What? Why?”

“You’ll see.”

A part of me still regrets this decision. I returned to my home page and began reading the posts I had made. One for each day, about two months worth. Goosebumps erupted over my skin as I scanned through them.

Marching in the Santa Cruz Band Review today! I love my life! Go Thunder!

Hanging with Michael after school today. Lovin’ life with my bff.

and the worst of them, the one that stopped heart:

Hot cheetos and nacho cheese with Michael in the quad. So good. Love life.

As you may have guessed, this one had been posted earlier that day. Someone that knew my life was masquerading as me. Me. My immediate thoughts turned to anyone that had bullied me in the past.

In elementary and middle school, there were several children dedicated to making my life a constant hell. My brother and sister put a stop to that, threatening their lives if they so much as looked my way again.

I had learned through these experiences in high school not to make waves. I kept to myself, save for a few close friends and of course Michael. Even then, oftentimes I turned down their invitations to socialize in favor of practicing in the band room or reading in the aisles of the library.

I was a relative unknown, though at times, people saw me. I was as well known for my musical accomplishments theater as I was for being awkward.

I was surprised that year when I had been voted “Most Talented” in the yearbook. A lackluster achievement in the grand scheme of things, but in High School, it meant a great deal.

Another time, I found a note stuffed into my locker from a mysterious stranger with a phone number and:

You walk by my class everyday. I think you’re really cute. Call me. Kevin

written beneath. Somehow, I knew that this was not some random romantic, but someone that wanted to make me squirm.

“What do we do?” I asked aloud. I didn’t know what I expected Michael to say. We were the same age, shared the same clueless expression. He knew little more than I did.

“Write to Tom, maybe?”

“Tom doesn’t care.” I shot back.

Still, it was worth a try. I sent off a message to Myspace customer service telling them of the situation, that I did not create the extra page.

A few hours later, I received a curt message back stating that they will be investigating the matter.

“Investigate? Why do they need to investigate?” Michael asked.

“I have no idea.” I replied. My stomach began to churn. Someone was out there masquerading as me and Myspace didn’t care? This person could have nefarious motives, and at the time, it seemed to me Myspace didn’t care.

Yes, now I understand there is a process to handling such matters. For all they knew, I could have been the imposter. They had to follow protocol. I decided to be patient, trust in the system. During the next few weeks, I received only radio silence from Myspace, and the person who stole my identity continued to live a vicarious life through me.

I became paranoid, shying away even more from social situations, the few friends I had. Everyone was a suspect, even Michael. This accusation caused a rage filled scream fest about trust and a week of awkwardness as we shunned each other.

One day, he and I decided to go out and play laser tag. We discussed this at school, making plans to meet at my house. I checked Myspace before we left, my own messages and the duplicate page, and found a brand new post made not 20 minutes before.

Michael had been with me all day, and this was before the days cell phones had the capability to access social media with ease. If he was the culprit, I would have seen.

Laser tag with Mii today! Bring it on. I love my life!

“Wow,” Michael said.

Wow, indeed. The specificity of the post was terrifying. They knew his nickname and our plans for the day. Plans we had discussed in relative privacy, or so I thought. Who could this person be?

“Maybe it’s Rhiannon,” Michael suggested.

It could be very possible. An odd, quiet girl, Rhiannon played flute for the school band with Michael and I. She hated me for being allowed to play piccolo when she was denied and for scoring first chair. Petty, yes, but this was high school. Most high school issues are petty.

“What about Sasha Tunny?”

That also could be true. A “friend” of my sister’s, she often could be found at our house. She considered me to be almost like a kid sister, a pet. Perhaps she was toying with me.

Sasha had a tendency to be passive aggressive and jealous over my sister’s extreme good looks. She once even spread a hideous rumor my sister, a 16 year old girl, had plastic surgery to look the way she did. She’s a bully. It’s not so farfetched.

I put it out of my mind, and we left. We had a great time, but our good moods deflated when we returned and checked on the site again. I received a message. Myspace was denying my claim, stating a lack of evidence as their reason.

Exhausted and scared, I burst into tears.

“Why is someone doing this?” I cried into Michael’s chest.

“I don’t know,” he replied, “but I think I have an idea. Why don’t we take a picture of you. We can make a sign that says you are who you say you are and send it to them.”

It was a good idea, and my last hope. We grabbed our digital camera, some markers, and printer paper. The snapshot we uploaded featured a thin, exhausted me, the actual me, puffy eyes and all. I held a sign that read:

I am the real Evelyn Martinez

I sent this off with a plea to reopen my case. A week passed before I heard back. I had won. The page was no more. I did not celebrate, did not feel relief. Instead, I became angry. I wanted to find the person that did this, but without the page, I couldn’t confront anyone with evidence.

Michael and I had been working to get this resolved for what seemed like forever. We deserved gratification for the suffering they put he and I through. As quickly as it had come, my anger began to ebb when I recalled the shared detail of all of the posts this person had made on my behalf. They had all mentioned their love for life.

My life.

Someone out there, someone that knew me, wanted it. Desired the life I took for granted to the point their fantasy grew dangerous. Maybe this wasn’t true, I could be being vainglorious. Perhaps it was a bully and they wanted to sound authentic. I remember something told me this wasn’t the case.

We grew up comfortable, very comfortable, had all the best clothes and belongings.

My brother had an entire drawerful of photos given to him by girls at school. The class clown, funny, and gorgeous, even I envied his all around likeableness.

The queen of Buhach High, my sister was every girl’s wish and guy’s dream. Stunning beauty, perfect boyfriend, and a fierce athletic talent, she was far more believable as the subject of a dupe account than I.

So why me?

The girl who got hauled away to a hospital in front of the school after she was discovered harming herself?

The strange girl hiding in the band room and the library?

The girl who cut class to eat lunch with her teacher?

I still to this day am not sure. I don’t like to think of it anymore. What is done is done. If I could find out who did such a thing today, I would like to think I could suppress the urge to murder them in cold blood.

I would like to think I would thank them instead.

I didn’t realize then my life was so worth living.

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Orlando, FL

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