Sunday 18 March 2018

Country and western star's identity stolen for passport by Facebook imposter

John McNicholl and his family had their images used by an internet imposter
John McNicholl and his family had their images used by an internet imposter

An Irish country and western star has discovered that he's been the victim of a 'catfishing' scam after his identity was stolen for a passport by a Facebook imposter.

Award-winning singer John McNicholl from Foreglen, Derry is now warning people to take care on social media after he discovered his photo had been used by someone pretending to be him.

However, when John was alerted by people in Indonesia that his image had been taken and used by a man who said he was from Melbourne in Australia, he admitted he found it "creepy".

The former chef turned singer discovered his picture appeared on the man's passport, as well as a work identification card.

He also learned the man had taken pictures of John's family and posted them on a Facebook page - claiming they were his own relatives.

"When I first heard about it I was freaking out, and I was thinking: 'What am I going to do?'," the singer told the Derry Journal.

"He had even taken pictures of family members too, and they were freaking out.

"I am used to being in the public eye and my picture appearing in different places, but this is creepy.

"It just shows you how easy it is for your identity to be taken and how careful you have to be."

The singer, who is currently touring Ireland, contacted the Garda in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

McNicholl was recently mentioned by legend Daniel O'Donnell when he joined a galaxy of stars for The Late Late Show country music special.

Daniel spoke highly of the singer as being among those responsible for reviving country music among younger fans.

Among the accolades John has received over the years are the Hot Country Award for Best CD and DVD for his Album Love Songs.

In 2001 John received the Best Newcomer Award from Country Music UK.

Other career highlights include sharing a stage with O'Donnell and Cliff Richard at the Kincasslagh Festival, Co Donegal.

And he has played support to Sir Elton John.

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