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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don’t Let Your Online Profile be Hijacked!

Yesterday KMOV News 4 here is St. Louis contacted me about a local women who’s profile had been hijacked on Facebook.  Her estranged husband had created a fake Facebook account in her name and began posting inappropriate photos of her and posting inappropriate messages on others walls.  She did not know what to do nor could the police assist.  So she contacted News 4 for help.  And, they in turn, contacted me about her options.

 Figure 1:  Perry Interviewed on News 4

As I reveal in my interview (Link: http://bit.ly/16w31Ix) there are a few things you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation in full or in part.

First of all you can report any photo others are posting as spam by simply clicking on the photo and then in the options, click “Mark as Spam” as Figure 2 below shows. 

 Figure 2:  Reporting a picture as Spam.

Secondly you can mark any Facebook account as spam also.  Simply go to the Facebook page and in the drop down click on “Report/Block.”  Facebook will ask you a few other questions as to why you are reporting the account as spam.  See Figure 3.

Figure 3:  Reporting an account as Spam.

 If you find yourself being tagged in a photo that you rather not be tagged in, you can remove that tag.  It is quite simple.  All you do is click on the picture and then click on ”Report/Remove Tag” as shown in Figure 4 below.  After all, Facebook realizes that you may not want to be tagged in that old high school picture that your best friend just posted.  So Facebook gives you that option. 

Figure 4:  Untagging yourself in a picture you were tagged in..

And do not forget that you can also remove posts others make on your wall.  After all it is your wall.  So you can remove whatever you deem appropriate to remove.  Guard your Facebook page carefully.  It is a representation of who you are what you stand for.  If someone posts something on your wall that might be viewed by others as offensive or politically incorrect, remove it.  I monitor my Facebook wall very carefully and do occasionally remove posts.  I take no chances.  As Figure 5 below shows, if I did not like one of the posts one of my friends made regarding a picture I posted, all I do is move my mouse over the upper right hand corner of the post I wish to remove and click “Remove.”  Not to worry, your friend will not be notified.

Figure 5:  Removing a post made by others on your wall.

On Twitter you can also report spammers.  If someone is following you that is spammy or sending you spammy tweets I recommend you report them.  Just go to their account page and click on the drop down and select “Report for Spam.”  See Figure 6 below for how to do this.
 Figure 6:  Reporting a Twitter account as spam.

To view my YouTube video of me demonstrating these features click on the link below associated with Figure 7.

Figure 7:  Facebook Security Settings Youtube Video

Believe it or not, approximately 9% of the 1 billion Facebook accounts are fake according to documents filed by Facebook themselves with the Security Exchange Commission not that long ago:

  • 4.8% are duplicate accounts we make for our professional and personal personas
  • 2.4% are accounts we make for our dog or cat or some other non human entity
  • 1.5% are created to be spammy or do malicious things
Be proactive and monitor your name usage regularly with the help of Google Alerts.  To receive notifications anytime Google notices your name being used, set up a Google Alert by inputting your name in quotes (see Figure 8 below).  When it shows up anywhere on the web, Google will send you an email.  This is a nice and easy way to keep an eye on your “brand” and how it is being used

Figure 8:  Using Google Alerts to monitor your name or brand.

If you find yourself dealing with a stalker or a cyber bully, follow these steps:

  1. Never engage with them online.
  2. Document everything they are doing by saving emails and taking screen shots of the posts they are making on Facebook
  3. Report them immediately to Facebook or Twitter as discussed above
  4. Block them from seeing your posts going forward and writing on your wall (using the Facebook Privacy Setting) or as last resort “unfriend” them.

Bottom line, be proactive.  In this new digital world we are very vulnerable to others hijacking our personal data and personas.  But we can minimize that risk by checking our virtual presence regularly and being careful who we friend.  

I hope you find this article helpful.