From the Publisher

You never even call me by my name

Cheryl Vespoint

Herald Publisher

I feel like it is a riddle trying to find people I want to connect with on social media. A few months back on Facebook everyone was using their middle name only, then it went to first name and middle name. I have a few friends who want to be anonymous and use funny names. On Instagram, most of my friends don’t even use their name and pick a catchy phrase. This is the same for email addresses, twitter and more. I could not figure out who are these people asking to “follow” me. But I realized why this practice may not actually be a bad idea.

I wanted to locate an old friend. The phone number I had for him was no longer in service, he did not work at the same place and his email was not valid. But no worries, in a matter of minuets through google searches, I was able to find his cellphone number, home number, current address, where his kids live and their ages. I found past addresses, relatives, old employers. I was even show google earth pictures of his home with the car in the driveway.

I knew the internet was a scary place and was getting worse, but I never realized just how easy it was to steal someone’s identity. Every week there are multiple police repots for stolen identities even in our hometown. I cannot image how widespread this problem is across the country and the world.

As a business owner in multiple locations, people need to be able to get in touch with me. Now, every time I sign into Facebook, post something on Twitter, or get into my gmail account I cringe. Anything with my name on it can be traced to everything I have touched in my life. I am a very personal person and this is bothersome that criminals can have my information with a few keystrokes. I have started taking precautions like never before. I use LifeLock and a few other credited apps and keep the reporting agency email handy. If I get anything that I feel is suspicious, I simply forward that email to the government that tracks phishing scams and more. There is a government website to report many types of dangerous activity on the internet.

You should report the scams to local and federal governments. For identity theft in Barberton, call the Barberton or Norton police at 330-745-2181. To report tax fraud scams at the Federal level email phishing@irs.gov. For identity theft email IdentityTheft.gov. For Social Security scams call 800-269-0271. There is even an option to speak with a government agent through a live chat….but of course they don’t use their real name. Happy surfing!

Cheryl Vespoint

Leave a Comment