Is identity theft online not illegal in Malta?

Identity theft on social media has become a common phenomenon in recent times. With human life revolving around the internet and social sites, are laws and the legal infrastructure being amended to address this new reality?

We spoke with local singer Claudia Faniello, who was the victim in recent days of identity theft on Facebook. Faniello explained that a false profile had been created together with her photograph and identity. This person started sending messages to various others, telling them Claudia was offering wins of 10,000 euro in a lottery. Claudia added she had received several phone calls and messages, even on her personal number, with screenshots of these messages being circulated from a false profile. Claudi pointed out that contrary to other scams, this time the Maltese text used was perfect, which made it easier for recipients to believe the false profile was a real one. In fact, Faniello explained that many believed it was true and had even given their details to take part in the lottery.

Inspector Anne Marie Micallef explained that when these situations arise, the victims should report immediately to the nearest Police Station. The Inspector added that at present, identity theft is not included as a crime in Malta’s laws; however, when the perpetrators are apprehended, they are still arraigned in court on other charges like wrong use of technology and false declarations.