May 12, 2008 (London, UK) — After a recent identity theft case that sentenced Fouad Mourtada to three years in prison online businesses are currently on high alert. Mourtada was charged with opening a false Facebook account under the name of Moulay Rachid, the Moroccan Prince. Additionally, BackgammonMasters Mexico site found users with the names of Prince William, Tom Cruise, Madonna and other famous icons. These accounts were found to be fake as well.
A BackgammonMasters.com spokesperson said “We’ve seen a trend in the industry for people to register popular names, as we call them “Gold usernames” such as backgammonking, pokerking, blackjack-king and celebrity names which are just as popular. We see people in game forums even buying and selling these usernames. For these people its status, kind of like having a custom license plate. As long as the games are for fun, we are not concerned.”
Though these players with “Gold usernames” have only played in Poker, Blackjack, Backgammon and other fun online money games, gaming companies are beginning to look out for these accounts following the Facebook case.
However, some governments are concerned because of the insults that fake accounts cause their famous leaders. Though Mourtada was released from jail after serving only 43 days of his sentence because of pressure from Human Rights organizations and petitioners, the case has resulted in a new awareness that usernames can be a serious matter. Ali Ammar, Mourtada’s lawyer, said that “This is a cultural problem; this is the first time a Moroccan poses as a very important personality on the Internet. This is already a common practice in European countries.”
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