Police warn anyone can be next victim of dangerous catfishing

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 26, 2016)-- Police are reminding social media users to beware of what they post online as a Columbus man convicted in a dangerous catfishing scheme was arrested again.

Last year, 22-year-old Adam Helton was convicted for lifting pictures of two Columbus women from their social media sites and using the images, along with their real names and addresses to catfish on multiple sites. But things took an even more twisted turn when he pretended to be one of the women and requested to be stalked, kidnapped, and sexually assaulted.

One victim received creepy phone calls at home and even sex toys in the mail. Both were frightened someone would show up to their address and hurt them.

Johnson County Sheriff's deputies re-arrested Helton recently for violating his probation. He's accused of pretending to be a woman and sending sexual text messages.

“That information that people put on the internet can then be used to exploit them," said Captain Chuck Cohen with Indiana State Police. He investigates cyber crimes. "Those images get out there and those will last on the internet for a very long period of time.

While no one is telling you to quit social media, Cohen said you can be smarter about how you're using it.

The best place to begin: search your name on the internet and see what's already out there for the world to see.

“I think many people are unaware of just how much information about them is available from a variety of sources," he said. "The best thing you can do is just be aware of what that information is, try to limit it the best you can, try to be cautious when you do post things online and try to be cautious with whom you share that online.”

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