A Portland, Ore., family says photos of their little girl sick in the hospital have been used for a fake Instagram account.
The Cliffton family tells FOX 12 they created a Facebook page to update loved ones about their daughter’s progress in the hospital. Addy was diagnosed with leukemia, according to family, but she’s fighting through it.
They were mortified when they say they found someone else is using those personal hospital photos and re-posting them to a made up account.
“It’s sick, it’s wrong, it’s violating in so many ways,” said mother Melissa Cliffton.
Cliffton says she had no idea someone else was using her family’s hospital photos until this week, when other parents at the hospital started noticing Addy’s photos pop up on an Instagram account called, “HopeforCooper.”
The account shows photos of Cliffton and her little girl, but whoever created it uses different names, and writes about different medical issues.
“Addy’s battle has been going on for months now, who knows how long this person has been claiming her battle as her own,” said family friend Crystal Henshen. “It’s heartbreaking and sickening.”
Right now, there’s no obvious proof, according to the family, that the person responsible is asking for donations of any kind.
Cliffton says she still can’t help but wonder.
“My husband stayed up all night to figure it out, we haven’t found any financial things, but my take is that its wrong,” said Cliffton. “There’s no reason someone should take, benefit, or want the attention of a story they haven’t lived themselves.”
Cliffton’s friends say they have reported the page several times to Instagram. Cliffton herself tells FOX 12 she filled out a formal complaint to the company.
Cliffton has this message to the hacker responsible:
“Delete the account, flat out delete it. If you have made financial gain, donate it to childhood cancer research. Addy finished her chemo on Saturday, and we should be celebrating, not being worried that someone’s copying her story,” said Cliffton.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the “Hope for Cooper” account on Instagram was taken down.
Local cyber-crimes detectives tell FOX 12 it’s tough to prosecute someone for this type of thing if there’s no proof of fraud, or financial gain.
Detectives say the best way to protect yourself from something like this happening is to put watermarks, or some type of copyrights on your online photos. That way people know which photo is real.