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It has come to our attention that a community member going by the name of Anna Johns is in fact a girl named Abbie who fabricated her story. Anna Johns has now been removed from the site.
She has posted a message to a Facebook group accusing her of being a fake to confirm this:
I am so sorry to those of you who have spent time talking to, supporting and crying for Anna and her family.
Personally I was taken in by this story too. But I would always rather be tricked because I am too trusting, than fail to support someone who genuinely needs it because I am not trusting enough.
***I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all NEVER to share personal details, send money or swap Facebook account details. I would suggest that you never even tell people your real name.***
The person who has done this deserves our sympathy. Munchausen's by internet is a recognised condition and I hope that Abbie gets the help she needs. You may find this article in the Guardian helpful to explain a little about the thinking behind something like this.
We take your security very seriously on this site, but there is very little that we could put in place to prevent someone who is determined enough to create an entire false life from joining the site. You can protect yourselves by not sharing your contact details, however sure you are that someone is real and needs your help.
You can offer plenty of support via the Community site, and also remain totally safe and secure.
Once again, I understand how much sadness, disappointment and anger there will be around this, but please do not let it distract you from the main purpose of the site which is supporting each other. You all do such a fantastic job and it would be so sad if something like this managed to ruin that.
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