This is a weird one, and it seems that it’s been going on a long time. I’ve gotten messages via Facebook and email to let me know that people are stealing my identity and then asking people for money, saying their daughter is sick. One scam artist is using pictures of my niece on their Facebook profile. I’ve also had people come on Facebook accusing me of being the one doing this, as if that makes more sense than some con artist downloading my pics and starting up their own account.
If you are reading this, you know who I am, and you know if I ask you for money to tell me to “Fuck off.” But that doesn’t help the people who are being scammed who don’t read my blog. Look, no one is stealing my identity because I’m an author. They are stealing my identity because my pictures are freely available, and because I wear soothing blue colored t-shirts, and everyone knows to trust a guy with a winning smile and a blue t-shirt.
I’m not the only person they take pictures of. The only reason these people get busted, and I even hear about the scams, is because they nabbed pics from someone who has tens of thousands of Facebook followers. That increases the chance of some overlap. Again, they aren’t taking my pics because I’m quasi-well-known. They are morons for taking pics from someone with so many followers. The rest of the con artists are invisible, because they are wiser.
If you see this shit happening, report it. Telling me about it won’t solve anything. I can’t stop these people. And no, I’m not going to wall myself off from the rest of the world because there are bad people who take advantage. There will always be bad people who take advantage. My general advice is this: If someone you don’t know is asking for money, assume the worst. Most people in dire need have at least a friend or a family member to turn to. And if they don’t, there are political and religious institutions who will help an honest person in need.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Even if the dude is wearing a blue shirt and looks a lot like me. In fact, if you see anything like that, run like hell.
25 replies to “Identity Theft”
I’ve had those emails from people too, “Why are you spamming me?” They don’t seem to understand that everything can be spoofed over the internet, or in other words “Don’t believe everything you see.” I’ve started to suspect that this is also a ploy some of the spammers use, so I never respond.
This is also why I’ve trained just about everyone in my family in the assorted tactics that the scammers like to use, emphasizing not to trust links without some context, not to trust links from someone purporting to be your bank or Paypal, or even your best friend, and so on. If you think it might actually be something important like your bank, pick up your phone and call your branch, or better yet go in person.
You see spam of any kind, ignore, delete, move on. I wouldn’t even bother reporting it unless it was pretty apparent to be a large-scale fraud operation, even for those instances these guys are generally operating from a country rife with corruption where there is little to no chance of the legal system pursuing them successfully.
That’s horrible. I can’t understand people like that. There are so many other honest ways to make money, then preying on good people. It sucks that you being the person you are, and putting yourself out there to your fans, that someone takes advantage of that. Sorry to hear this Hugh.
Wow, Hugh, I never knew that you were a Nigerian prince! I’m impressed!
Seriously, if anyone has the slightest clue who you are, they know that you wouldn’t be spamming for money.
Like you said, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.
Now, excuse me…I have a Hugh Howey impersonator on the front porch that I need to chase off…he’s wearing a blue T-shirt, and smiling from ear-to-ear. But why do his eyes have a reddish glow?
I totally agree, your winning smile and blue shirt get me every time!
But seriously, scams like this are everywhere. Luckily if people saw one of my author pictures asking for money they’d sneer and send hate mail. The con-artist would deserve it anyway.
But this raises a question I have about crowd-funding. People can just as easily make claims on crowd-funding websites using video and “perks” etc. I suppose they can make these into convincing scams. How do I know the money I forked over for that invention-idea will ever be realized? I know my money is gone in the wind, but I still hope to see that really-cool-thing-a-ma-bob materialize in the (hopefully not too distant) future.
Any thoughts on this sort of thing yourself?
Hugh, are you telling me that all of the money I sent didn’t go to help your niece? What did you do with it all, buy a boat? smh
Identity theft and hacking are becoming serious problems with everything in our lives digital now. Recently, a bestselling author (out of courtesy I will not say who) had to take down her website because someone hacked into it and inserted an inappropriate message on the front page. Her website has been down for at least two weeks now.
There are already so many scams in the world of writing, why does identity theft have to worsen it?
Scammers have a well rehearsed script, seeking victims such as divorced, retired women, seeking their victims to take advantage of romance.
usually they offer eternal love, serious relationships, marriage long or medium term, after some time of virtual communication, begin to ask for money.
They use psychological tricks to lure their victims in, use poetry and even gifts to get them under their spell, and then once you are there, will try to reach for your wallet, all the time declaring their “undying love” for you. The scam may take the form of asking you to cash a check for them through your bank account because they are “out of the country” and unable to cash it themselves, or they may come right out and ask you to send money to help them out of a fabricated “financial difficulty” they claim to be experiencing. These are all lies used to try to make them easy money from an unsuspecting victim
The sad truth is, for every real profile you see on the internet, there are numerous false ones pretending to be your perfect mate and using photographs stolen from modelling or social networking sites. The people in the photographs are as much victims as those who get scammed for hundreds or thousands dollars.
We had the same scam go through a couple of my friends a while ago. None of them are famous. The scammers lift your personal pics and information so they can pepper their request with enough details to seem plausible. Some of the emails are actually rather well done; the biggest reason they failed is that they got sent to people my friends didn’t know well (ie, business acquaintances) or they got sent to people they knew really well (who knew they were obviously not stuck in a foreign country with no funds).
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