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Online Fake Identity Usage – Keep a tab on who uses your profile!

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Internet is probably the biggest level playing field available to human beings today. Anyone and everyone on the internet have same rights. Every individual can (potentially) do things that other person does. Yes, some have better knowledge of web and can achieve more. But, same can be learned by anyone and applied – So unlike our physical world where cultures, society, Economics, geographies compartmentalize us rather than put us on the same plain.

This opens up infinite boundaries for individuals – be it a 10 year old or a 90 year old, Be it rich or poor!

Obviously, there is also a downside to this – given the freedom internet offers, people may choose to use this platform in not so ethical ways or use it to harm others. While there are many things you should be careful about on internet, I will specifically speak about one…

Online Fake Identity Usage

Fake Identity Usage has potential to cause tremendous harm to the victim. Here is an example.

Today morning, I got a mail in my inbox from a well-wisher alerting me of an individual using my Identity on a Freelancing website (Odesk) to garner business. Take a look at the snapshot of the profile…

[Note: The tip for this was given to me by Sachin Khosla of Digimantra – Thank you!]

Arun-Odesk-Profile

So, I don’t have a twin brother…so that digital picture is obviously mine…

My picture has been used by someone else – who probably wants to hide his true identity. Most probably, to do un-ethical transactions or simply to garner advantage of some sort… Whatever the reason, this is a classic case of fake identity.

As I have been on internet for quite some time, its easy for me to take action without  it causing much harm to me. However, for majority of netizens, they will never even know that their identity is being used by someone else, until it is too late.

As for me, I will just probably mark the above profile as spam and contact oDesk – I am sure they will promptly take action this!

2 tools to find your unauthorized Identity usage

Set up Google Alerts:

If there is one thing you MUST do – It is setting up Google Alert in your own name. Not only should you have it in your own name, also create an alert if you have a specific handle that you use on Social Media sites etc.. More often than not, you will be surprised to find the results.

Google Alerts

Make sure that you choose “Result Type” as everything and frequency at “As-it-Happens”. This will no doubt

Use Google Images

Setting up Google Alerts will help with everything that is text based – But, how about an image like the one above? Search for your name on Google Images. See all the sites where your images are appearing. If anyone is using your identity or using your picture without your permission, you will know of it immediately.

Google-images

Additionally, you can also use “similar” feature in Google images, which will throw out similar pictures that you need to find and filter out most other images narrowing down your search.

These 2 tools alone will take care of 99% of unauthorized identity usage cases.

  1. Neha Malhotra says

    Thanks For sharing these tips…This will surely help…Keep posting such articles..

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