Ellsworth Model’s Photos Stolen, Used in Online Nigerian Scam
by Jennifer Osborn
April 3rd, 2008
ELLSWORTH — Nigerians have stolen photos of an Ellsworth model and are using them on a Web site they created to solicit money from men.
“There’s nothing that can be done, short of going to Nigeria,” said Ellsworth Police Detective Dotty Small, who is handling the complaint.
What’s worse, the stolen photos are still posted on the Web site to lure unsuspecting people to send money to Nigeria.
Small said the woman has tried to get the Web site taken down but was told she had to obtain a court order.
The photos show the woman in various outfits and poses, including bikinis and dresses. One photo is a portrait of the Ellsworth woman with her young daughter.
“She’s a very pretty lady,” Small said.
Indeed, a man in the Midwest thought so too.
He wired $450 to a Nigerian who put up the fraudulent site and claims to be the woman in the photos. The Nigerian advised that the girl in the portrait was her sick daughter and she needed the money to get her medical treatment.
Small said the man became suspicious after he was asked to wire more money — $1,500 — to Nigeria.
The man noticed a photographer’s name in the corner of one of the photos and called him and learned the woman’s real identity.
The man sent the Ellsworth woman an e-mail letting her know about the fraudulent site, Small said. The woman contacted the Ellsworth Police March 26.
Small said they have no idea how long the Nigerians have been using the woman’s photos.
The woman has fixed the photos on the modeling Web site so that they can no longer be copied.
“She’s learned,” Small said.