A student in Ann Lacy School of Dance and Entertainment is accused of creating fake social media profiles for her professors, resulting in an ongoing police investigation.
The 19-year-old woman is suspected of impersonating four professors, according to a police report filed Feb. 20.
The student is a dance freshman. She is still on campus.
The student is accused of creating Twitter profiles in the professors’ names.
Police would not release the names of the student or the professors involved.
Two of the professors refused to comment.
However, according to Facebook posts from the professors, the profiles were created in September and October 2016. Some of them were active until February.
According to the police report:
One professor became suspicious when students told her they were glad to be keeping up with her on Twitter. The professor did not have a Twitter account, so she went online and found the fake profile, which included her child and husband’s names.
Other posts on the fake account showed the professor’s location at the Cheesecake Factory on Feb. 14, but she had never been there. There also were two posts about making cookies and “liking” certain pages like Britney Spears, but the professor said she has not made any cookies recently and does not like Britney Spears.
Other fake profiles were discovered Feb. 20 with similar content, such as personal details and location posts.
Campus police matched the profiles to the student by tracking the content of social media platforms.
For example, the student posted on her personal profile that she was having dental work done and was not feeling well, so her mother took her to GiGi’s Cupcakes, where she bought a triple chocolate cupcake. Later, on a fake Twitter account, there was a picture of a GiGi’s cupcake.
In another video, the student mentioned her dance instructor.
The student uploaded a video Feb. 19 revealing that she was going to Harkins Theater in Bricktown to see Newsies. She showed her tickets in the video. The same day, there was a post on one of the victim’s Twitter accounts claiming the professor was seeing Newsies with her son.
Campus police tracked several private Twitter conversations with OCU students, faculty members and personal family members from the fake accounts, including an exchange with an OCU alum who appeared in Newsies.
Bradd Brown, chief of police, said he deals with these types of cases by addressing relevant laws.
“We look at several different laws like the Computer Crimes Act in Oklahoma and laws dealing with identity theft,” Brown said.
Police also take into account a catfishing law, which went into effect Nov. 1 in Oklahoma, and several state laws related to social media ethics. Based on their research, police determine which of these laws are applicable to the situation by investigating the particular case. This case is in that phase. Once enough evidence is gathered, police will take their information to the district attorney, who will decide whether to file charges.
“A lot of times people will experience something where someone has been impersonated online,” Brown said. “I would encourage them to contact us and make reports.”
The emergency phone number for police is 405-208-5911, and the non-emergency phone number is 405-208-5001.