PEOPLE making online comments on newspaper stories have been warned they could face criminal charges when caught trying to assume someone else’s identity.
The warning comes after a well-known Bendigo businessman had comments posted under his name, despite not personally writing them.
The comments were posted under Robert Ketterer’s name and carried his personal email address.
The Bendigo Advertiser alerted police when Mr Ketterer brought the issue to the paper’s attention.
Police traced the IP address used to make the comments to a Melbourne computer. Inspector Mark Edwards yesterday said the person involved could face criminal charges. “People think they can facelessly post comments on social media sites, but at the end of the day we can find out where it has come from,’’ he said. “They can be prosecuted.’’
The comments posted under Mr Ketterer’s name related to a subdivision in Huntly.
“People in Huntly would have read the comments and thought DCK Real Estate didn’t hold Huntly in high regard,’’ he said. “We are reliant on email and the internet, but equally you cannot take everything at face value.’’
Bendigo Advertiser editor Rod Case said it was pleasing police had acted so quickly when informed of the false identity. “The Bendigo Advertiser will pass details of anyone taking the identity of another for our letters to the editor or web comments sections straight to the police,’’ he said.
“A majority of people do the right thing but this incident shows there are some people out there who don’t.
“We spend a lot of time trying to make sure names and email addresses are legitimate, and this is an area of our business we must treat seriously. That’s why police were immediately made aware of this incident.’’