The shine got taken off posting to my blog recently when I found someone had stolen my identity…
I love blogging, sharing stories, recommending great books, but in the past weeks all of my enthusiasm for this activity was soured when I came across a new blog. It only had one book review, which was intelligent, cited, and made some really good points. But on closer inspection, total click bait, posting links to other websites. And to make it worse, listed my details as the author – including links to all of my personal social media.
I just about threw up in my mouth. It was like a large block of ice formed in my stomach. I could barely believe what I was looking at. I clicked around on everything, to make sure it wasn’t some type of computer error and ensure I could duplicate the results. But it was legit. Legit piracy. The author of the site had totally hijacked my identity.
It looked innocent enough, but where would it stop? It was endorsing other websites I certainly had no knowledge of, or interest in. It was reviewing a book I’d never read… and suddenly the prospect of my identity in the hands of a stranger had my nerves in knots.
As my best friend said ‘That’s just not cricket.’
I got the site taken down by the end of day, it took reporting it to WordPress admin, Gravatar Copyright Division, and the regulation board, and a firmly worded comment to the owner of the site explaining my actions and readiness to take legal action.
It turns out the site author took it down pretty quickly.
The whole experience left me a little gun-shy about posting for a while.
My social media is secure; they had never hacked any of my accounts. But someone had started a new blog, listed my information and linked it to my platform. That’s some audacious human being. So, just a polite warning to my fellow bloggers out there – be vigilant, check out the author of blogs and articles you’re liking to make sure they are legit. We need to keep our community ‘real’ and sift out fakers posting clickbait.
This is meant to be a fun safe place to share our thoughts and writing, and though it has been somewhat sullied by this experience, I still enjoy blogging and will continue.
I guess this was the best type of scare to give me a kick in the butt to overhaul my security (and privacy) online. Change passwords frequently, and use ones that are hard to guess. Use numbers and characters, change cases. Don’t list or broadcast too much personal information. Occasionally do a search on yourself, or your image. It’s not an ego thing – it’s protecting your identity/brand. Choose to have added steps in authentication for your sites. I know it sounds painful and unnecessarily drawn out, but it is definitely worth it. If someone does hack your account or steal your identity to ‘catfish’ and are particularly stubborn; the lengths you have to go to to protect your content or image may be stressful, lengthy, and in some cases if legal action is taken, expensive.
Familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations of the medium you post your content to – and the avenues you have for appeal and policing.
It’s simply the other side of having a presence on the internet we all have to be aware of.
So after you’ve done all of the boring stuff you can get back to being creative, sharing your thoughts and revel in writing again with the knowledge that you are protecting your stuff.
Happy writing and take care out there…
© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.