Impersonator...

Posted: 9/20/2005 11:16:58 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

File under "identity theft".

Someone has been filing affiliate program applications using my name and ThereminWorld.com. Luckily, one of the programs the applied to was able to track ME down and got in touch to let me know about the suspicious behavior. Now, the affiliate website they were using has also tracked down the offender and is working with local law enforcement to shut them own.

Just a healthy reminder that the Internet is a wild frontier, and you always have to be on the lookout. I really hope this is the full extent of the damage and that something deeper hasn't happened. I'll be ordering credit reports today.

ugh.
Posted: 9/20/2005 8:05:34 PM
user

From: Winston-Salem, NC

Joined: 6/30/2005

It's a good thing the free credit reports just became available for NC!
Posted: 9/20/2005 11:44:18 PM
vonbuck

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

mmm, I didn't know why thereminworld needed my debit card pin number

Andy

just kidding
Posted: 9/22/2005 1:46:43 PM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

It's always something.

If there is anything I can do to help please lt me know.
Posted: 10/17/2005 3:45:14 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

This is getting stranger. Suddenly, I'm getting CHECKS from these random affiliate programs my "impersonator" has signed up for using my name & website address. As they arrive, I'm contacting each company's security department and ripping up the checks. Next step, I'm contacting the FBI :)
Posted: 10/18/2005 1:33:30 PM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Could somebody be trying to get you in trouble?

Do you have a crazy ex-girlfriend out there who has discovered Theremin World?
Posted: 10/18/2005 3:38:53 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

I'm beginning to wonder! The FBI has been alerted and all sorts of fraud alerts are now in place. Let's hope this is the end of it.
Posted: 12/5/2005 8:53:04 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

The fun keeps coming. Today I got another "phantom check" from an affiliate company I never joined. I'm beginning to hear the spooky sounds of a theremin score in the background as I think about what strange things are happening. While we could certainly use the extra funds, I'm not willing to take money that was earned under false pretenses.

The question remains though: How could this scam have possibly earned the scammer any cash? They only have my name and address (not even my phone number) according to all the security staff I've talked to. Anyone ever had this happen to you?

When I talk to the security team from this company tomorrow, if they tell me I can keep the check, I'll put it all into another contest... keep your fingers crossed :)
Posted: 12/6/2005 5:17:32 AM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Jason,

That's a very kind offer, but in similar circumstances I think I would have opened a separate bank account to keep all the dodgy money in until either I had to give it back or the statute of limitations expires on it.

One of my functions, when I was in gainful employment, was finding people who did not want to be found. Unfortunately it was in very different circumstances so I have no specific suggestions, but general principles apply.

You're doing the right things...

Bringing it out in the open is good. Naughty people prefer to operate in the shadows. Don't play on their terms.

Involving the right people is good. When you talk to the FBI and ISP security teams try to learn as much from them about what they are doing as they are happy to tell you. The more you understand the better.

Keeping meticulous records is good. For two reasons...

Firstly every time you encounter your impersonator he is handing you another piece of the jigsaw. Sooner or later you will get two pieces that fit together.

Secondly, one possible reason for his baffling actions is that you are not the target of a scam, you are the fall guy. If he is out to con someone, then all the clues point to you, not him, as the perpetrator. I would certainly want to be well prepared for this eventuality.

Finally, don't sweat it. The simplest explanation is that he doesn't care about the money, he just cares about anonymity and your name got picked at random. Chances are he'll get bored of being you eventually and go bother someone else.

And remember, you have the upper hand - if there is something nefarious afoot he can't afford to make one mistake...

So, as with everything, hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Hope this helps.

Gordon

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