Hi-Jacked!

I spend hours and hours on line, and enjoy flitting back and forth between my Gmail inbox, Linked-In, Facebook, YouTube, the occasional celebrity gossip page, blogs of the moment, etc., like some dizzy little bee collecting pollen for honey (my own blog).

One of my favorite quick reads (and a favorite because it is short and sweet) is MarketingProfs snippets. Today’s article asked, What Will You Do if Your Brand Gets Jacked?

Worse, what will you do if the “brand” that gets jacked is YOU?

This week I’ve had to ask myself just that. I’ve had a profile posted on Match.com for a bit more than a year. An odd email was sent to me out of the blue by a tantalizing playboy/pilot type that had been torturing me with on and off flirtatious emails. The cryptic message he sent recently…”Now I know where you went!” with a subject line “Pond getting bigger!”. We went back and forth for a while, him teasing that I was up to some shenanigans with my profile, and me being clueless about what he was referring to.

Finally he writes me the profile name of my impostor, and sure enough, I did a search and there I was! My new handle–“Bellagirlforu.”

Bottom line, I’d been hi-jacked. Yes, Identity Theft 101. Apparently some shyster had downloaded my profile pictures and text, and uploaded them with a location of Yonkers, New York, for a probable funds-wiring scam.

Besides plagiarizing much of my original text, I’d been given some new past-times (watching hockey?!!), a promotion and raise (I’d become a VP of Sales & Marketing for an unspecified Ad Agency), and swapped my genetic make-up for a new ethnicity: “I am a mix of italian, greek & hungarian. What a mix!!” Among my alter-ego’s favorite things was posted the appalling: ” I love to cook almost any kind of food. I like the color red because it reminds me of excitment [sic] and passion.”

Well, I guess I can choose to do a few things…pursue some remediation, ask for pallitive measures from the Match wizard behind the machine and do as Yolanda of Match customer service instructs, write the executiveteam@match.com, and maybe I’ll escalate my concerns by dropping a note to folks like Craig Wax, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Match.com or some Chinese menu combination of these 4 options (thanks Jeremiah Owyang):

Option 1: Continue legal path: Rail against Match about the abuses of this invasion of privacy, holler ’til I’m blue in the gills and generally allow myself to feel violated.

Option 2: Join the campaign: See how I can help Match and others who use their site and other like CareerBuilder and Craig’slist learn to identify and thwart these pesky fake identities and apparent phishers.

Option 3: Redirect focus on issues: Just blog about it here, and perhaps be slightly flattered as well as amused that someone would think my photos scintillating enough topurloin for romance.

Option 4: Walk away: Fuh’get about it. Maybe that’s what will happen in a couple of weeks, as the sometimes bizarre parade of real characters flashing up through Match-generated emails blots out the odd events of the week.

Let’s see if Match will step up and deliver as they suggest their users do, and “Be a Good Citizen… Put your best self forward, be truthful, be courteous and be upfront” and help their subscribers to be able to do that as well. I promise to provide an update in a future blog installment if I hear anything back from the Match people.

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Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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