When I was younger, I loved the story of la Caperucita Roja. I was always so scared that the wolf had pretended to be the granny and that Little Red Riding Hood almost got eaten up! It’s time for another cyber retelling of a classic story, so I hope you’ll enjoy this story about impersonators.
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl. Whenever she went out, the little girl wore a red riding cloak, so everyone in her town called her Little Red Riding Hood. She always carried a little basket with her phone, and brought headphones with her to listen to music.
Little Red Riding Hood lived with her mother near a nice forest, and they would video chat with her grandmother all the time, who lived in a nearby city. One day, her grandmother invited her to come stay the weekend with her. The girl was so excited, because her grandma was her most favorite person in the whole world!
Her mother thought it was a good idea, so she helped her pack her clothes, necessities, and some treats to take to her grandmother. Little Red Riding Hood went online on FairyBook, the popular social media platform that all the cool people were using, and posted about how thrilled she was to visit her grandma, and included the name of the city her grandma lived in, and tagged her mom.
The next day, Little Red Riding Hood put on her red cloak, and just as she was about to walk to the bus stop, her mother stopped her.
“Remember, go straight to Grandma’s house,” her mother instructed. “Don’t get distracted, text me if you need anything and please don’t talk to strangers!”
“Don’t worry, mom,” sighed Little Red Riding Hood, “I know! I’ll be careful.”
But when Little Red Riding Hood got on the bus, the first thing she did was put on her headphones, so she wasn’t aware of her surroundings. She got a tap on her shoulder, and noticed someone wanted to speak with her. Little Red Riding Hood completely forgot her mother’s advice about not speaking to strangers, and she talked to this woman for almost half an hour, detailing where she was from, where she went to school, and information about her grandma.
After the lady got off the bus, Little Red Riding Hood gasped. She had missed her stop! She quickly got off at the next stop and started looking for another bus to take before it got too late. Just as she reached a bench near the stop, she sat down, exhausted.
Little Red Riding Hood texted her mom, “Missed my stop, but I’m almost there!”
She texted back, “Ok, darling, let me know when you get there safely! I love you!”
The girl replied, “Love you too!”
Just then, she received a notification from FairyBook.
“A message? Who could it be?” she thought.
She wasn’t friends with this person, but she clicked on it anyways.
“Hi my beautiful granddaghter!” it read.
“I didn’t know grandma had a FairyBook! She can hardly use her digital oven!” Little Red Riding Hood checked the profile, and sure enough, her grandma’s photo was there! She was surprised, and typed back.
“Hi, nana! Since when do you have FairyBook?”
Ping! Another message.
“I jsut got it actualy. Excited to see you soon!”
“Wow, grandma, what fast typing skills you have!”
“All the better to speak to you, my dear.”
“Actually, I’m waiting for the bus stop to get to your house. I’ll be there in 5 minutes!”
“Oh, what bus stop?”
Little Red Riding Hood sent back the name of the bus stop, and after a couple minutes, another ping sound let her know that grandma responded.
“I happen to be on my way home from the store. I can meet you there and we’ll travel back together.”
Little did Little Red Riding Hood know, she was not talking to her granny at all – granny was in her home, baking her favorite double chocolate chip cookies and patiently waiting for her favorite (and only) granddaughter to arrive.
Little Red Riding Hood was actually talking to an impersonator, who had evil plans for when he would meet the girl at the bus stop. He had seen the girl’s post about visiting her grandmother, and that her mom was tagged to the post, and after getting a photo of the grandma from her mom’s FairyBook profile, he created a simple profile with a fake email address. It was the perfect plan, and Little Red Riding Hood had fallen for it.
While Little Red Riding Hood waited for her grandma at the bus stop, one of her school friends named Hunter just got off the bus and saw her. They started talking, and Little Red Riding Hood recounted her travel tales and told her about her grandma’s FairyBook profile.
Hunter was cyber savvy, and was suspicious as soon as he heard about the fact that her “grandma” had messaged her, and was going to meet her at the bus stop. He sat down with Little Red Riding Hood and talked to her about impersonators, and how this was most likely not even her grandma who had messaged her, but another person with bad intentions. After a quick phone call with her grandma, who had just put the cookies in the oven, they confirmed that this was true. Hunter offered to escort her to the grandma’s house, since he had been before and knew the way, and the grandma approved.
Once Little Red Riding Hood and Hunter arrived, the grandmother invited him to stay for lunch and cookies, and they all had a long chat about staying safe online, after reporting and blocking the impersonator’s fake profile on FairyBook. Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma also let her know that she would never set up a FairyBook account without help, and that she needed to be careful whenever anyone messaged her.
And they all lived Happily Ever Cyber!
Impersonators are a very real danger, but you need to remember that there are steps you can take to protect yourself from these Cybermonsters, and that there are always good “Hunters” to help support us on our cyber journey.
How do you protect yourself against cyber impersonators?