Woman Stole Baby Pictures on Instagram to Scam People for Money

mom taking selfie with baby
iStock.com/Ahuli Labutin

We post photos online because we want the world to know how adorable our kids are. But with all those likes and heart emojiis, it's easy to forget that not everyone on the Internet has good intentions. Kati Ringer was just banned from social media for two years after a court found she stole photos of babies off Instagram to use in her own moneymaking scam.

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Ringer, a 21-year-old woman from Norwich, England, targeted two women at random on Instagram. She took photos of their babies and posted them online as her own, claiming the children were sick or even dead in an attempt to get people to donate money to her.

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According to prosecutor Jane Walker, Ringer refused to apologize when confronted by her victims. Instead she threatened them. When one mom confronted her, Walker said Ringer "became threatening towards her and made threats to rape and harm the child." The court heard evidence that Ringer continued to taunt the baby's mom, sending her a laughing emoji and a message on Instagram that read, "I've already posted pictures saying she's dead, I've got £600 ($788) so far."

When the victim told Ringer that Ringer was jealous she didn't have her own child, Ringer doubled down on her obscene insults. "Jealous of a disgusting little runt that should have been drowned at birth," read the message she sent to the mother.

The other victim confronted Ringer when she learned Ringer was passing off photos of her premature baby and asking for donations to help cover the baby's medical expenses and possible funeral costs. Ringer stopped using the photos, but threatened the mom saying she would find where she lived and kill the baby.  

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We should all be cautious when putting pictures of our children on the Internet. But I think we can all agree that no parent deserves this. Ringer's actions were greedy and vile, and her lack of remorse for her invasion of these families' privacy is disgusting. 

Police found Ringer by tracing the IP address from her posts to the computer at her mother's house. She pleaded guilty to two counts of malicious communications offences and was sentenced to a two-year criminal behavior order which bans her from using social media. Based on Ringer's actions, two years without Facebook or Insta hardly seems long enough. 

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