When it happens to you …

You hear of stories like this but they’ve always happened to others.  Until now.  The scourge of the Internet decides to impersonate you.

Previously, I had felt sorry for Alec Couros who had run into problems like this and they’re apparently continuing.  It did lead to an interesting interview with Zuck Markyburg.

My story started with a communication from my son.

“Have you created another Instagram account?”

“No, why?”

“Because I got a request from an account that looks just like you”.

Then, a similar question came from my daughter.  Then from some friends.  Something indeed was up.  So, I asked for the name of the account and checked it out for myself.

Sure enough, there was my normal profile picture staring back at me and the username was a permutation of the name I use in many places (including this blog).

The damage?  Well, they were all sent this message.

Screenshot 2017-06-21 at 11.06.39

Thanks to those who took a screenshot and sent it to me.  It’s a variation of so many scams that we see online.

I checked out this phony account.  There’s a couple of things that should give an indication that it wasn’t me.  First, it was a social media account with no content.  Everyone knows that I’m noisy online.  Secondly, I do take pride in my writing.  I might make the odd slip and might forget to capitalize an i but not every one throughout one paragraph.  In hindsight, that’s not one paragraph; it’s one long sentence!  Had proper punctuation been seen, you’d also have noticed two spaces after a period.

The sad part was that this account had sent out these friend requests.  A good friend of mine and myself sent messages to those who had accepted the requests indicating that it was a phony account.  The response was great with people dropping the connection and even blocking the account.

Will we see the end of this?  Sadly, probably not.

But, it’s a reminder that you should “choose your friends wisely”.  Just don’t blindly accept friendship requests without a bit of research.

This article “HOW TO SET YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA” should serve some as a reminder and provide some tips to be secure online.

You can’t be too careful and I just hope that it doesn’t happen to you.

2 thoughts on “When it happens to you …

  1. Doug, this is such an important post! I’m so glad that you wrote it. I was one of the people that was fooled by your new account. I thought it was strange that you had a second Instagram account (and with no activity on it), but I looked through the Followers, and they aligned with people you know. Same for the people Following the account. I just got my BIT acceptance the night before, and I thought that this account might be one you were going to use for BIT posts. I guess that I was trying to make sense of this, and my reasoning helped with that. Thank goodness to you and your friend, who let me know about the problem. I blocked this account, and I hope that things get resolved.

    Some good, and important, messages here in social media, identity, and knowing when to speak up (and ask) when things don’t seem right. I wish I did that. It never even occurred to me that somebody might have used your identity for this account. I wonder why I wasn’t skeptical, and if I have to start becoming a little more skeptical.


    Liked by 1 person

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