Yesterday we were surprised to learn that apparently we’ve been engaging in some sort of “gang-stalking” activity, in which we’ve allegedly been targetting Kristie Sue Costa. We felt sure that if this were the case we’d have remembered, but things have been hectic chez Hoaxtead Research over the past few days, so we thought it best to check into the situation just to be certain.
Here’s what Kristie Sue claims:
In a Facebook post dated 3 November, she stated,
For the last week I’ve been getting email notifications from Instagram but I don’t have an Instagram account, until I opened the email. Apparently someone with my email address set up the account, and it was NOT me.
The profile name was “im_going_to_ruin_your_life” and the tagline was “I’ll bring you down”. I went to sign in and clicked “forgot password”, then changed the password, all email notifications came to my email so it’s all good, I’ve recovered an account that was maliciously created with my email address tho…FFS!
In a follow-up post she reiterated,
With my email address they obtained from a double agent named Jacqui Farmer/Charlotte Ward, social media accounts have been set up, here’s one screen shot from Instagram of a profile that I did not create but was receiving email notifications from called “im_going_to_ruin_your_life” and the tagline was “I’ll bring you down”
While this purports to explain where we supposedly got Kristie Sue’s email, we confess we were more puzzled than when we started.
If someone wanted to harass Kristie Sue by creating an Instagram account in her name, would they not have used, well, her name in setting it up? And why would they set it up using Kristie Sue’s email address, knowing that all correspondence and notifications from the account would wind up coming to her computer, rather than to the computer of the person who created the account?
But then we thought: perhaps we were merely looking at a particularly inept gang-stalker.
We decided to see how easy it might be to set up a fake Kristie Sue account on Instagram. The results were very edifying.
Setting up the fake account
We want to emphasise here that we made this account for experimental purposes only, and then disabled it immediately afterward.
Here’s what we saw when we went to the Instagram site.
Most people who use Instagram do so on their mobile phones, as this enables them to snap photos and instantly share them on the app.
However, it’s also possible to sign up using an email address. Since Kristie Sue was claiming she’d been receiving emails from Instagram, we chose that option:
On most apps we’ve used, the app will send a new user a message along the lines of “you’ve almost finished signing up! We’ve just sent you an email with a confirmation code. When you click it, you’ll complete the sign-up process”. We were surprised, then, when this didn’t happen. Instead, as soon as we clicked the “sign up” button, we were informed that we were now a member of Instagram.
We wondered: was it actually possible to sign up for Instagram without a confirmation email?
However, a few minutes later our email in-box dinged.
Sure enough: Next, we tried the sign-in process again, using the more standard mobile number option. This time, we got what we expected: Within seconds, Instagram sent a 6-digit confirmation code to the mobile number we used. Once we’d entered it, we were in.
Why is the confirmation code important?
According to Kristie Sue, she started getting emails out of the blue from Instagram, an app for which she had not signed up.
However, this is simply not possible. To complete the sign-up process, someone with access to her mobile phone or her computer would have had to receive either Instagram’s confirmation security code or their confirmation email. Without that last step in the sign-up process, the app simply will not work.
So if Kristie Sue’s alleged gang-stalker actually used her email to sign up, she would have almost immediately received a notification saying, “Welcome to Instagram….Please confirm your email address”.
What’s in a name?
Another thing: let’s assume you’re a troll and you want to make an Instagram account to discredit Kristie Sue. Do you call it something attention-grabbing, like “Kristie Sue Costa, the Crazy Witch Hunter”?
Noooooo…you call it some emo teen-aged angsty name like “im_going_to_ruin_your_life”.
This has the advantage of being both completely generic and difficult to type quickly on a mobile’s keypad. Really, what’s the downside?
The gang-stalker that couldn’t shoot straight
Furthermore, if Kristie Sue is telling the truth, and she really has been receiving emails from this fake account that’s not even in her own name, and contains no pictures of her, the person who made the account is the most inept gang-stalker in the history of gang-stalkers.
Think about it: you decide to make a fake account for someone you don’t like. And then, instead of having all the notifications from that account come to you (which enables you to retain control of the account), you think, “Nah, I’ll just send them to Kristie Sue’s actual email address and let her deal with them”. It just doesn’t add up.
UNLESS…unless you happen to be using Kristie Sue’s own computer, or her mobile phone, to do your dirty deed.
In that case, you could conceivably be sitting at the computer (or phone) waiting for the notification to come in. You enter the confirmation code, erase the incriminating SMS or email, et voilà! You now have control of the account you created to troll Mum, or your wife, or, erm, whomever.
But this would mean…oh, no, it’s too horrible to contemplate!
Kristie Sue, we traced the call. It’s coming from inside the house!