Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


How to foil an internet impersonator?
August 21, 2006 5:54 AM   Subscribe

Someone is impersonating me on the web. How can I stop him/her?

Quite a few people have already been fooled. More annoyingly, the pretentious idiot doing is barely literate. What the hell can I do to dissuade this person from pretending to be me? I should add that most people in Portugal refer to me as "MEC" for short and that I haven't written a word on my old blog for years and I'd like to avoid reviving it just to say this other pseudo-blog is a fraud. Many thanks for any help.
posted by MiguelCardoso to Computers & Internet (30 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well if he is barely literate, anyonw with half a brain will figure out it isn't you, right?

So me, I'd be happy that I was famous enough to have impersonators, and forget about it.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:58 AM on August 21, 2006


Is such impersonation a criminal offense in Portugal? Could you take it up with the authorities? It seems that if this kind of thing could have some effect on your own future book sales (and it could), then there should be some way to invoke state or federal laws. Maybe have a lawyer send a cease-and-desist letter, if you can figure out a way to get in contact with this faux Miguel.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:04 AM on August 21, 2006


Is it possible that his name genuinely is "Miguel Esteves Cardoso"? Or is there other infomration you have that more directly points to impersonation?
posted by outlier at 6:16 AM on August 21, 2006


Enlighten us as to the contents of the blog - is it attempting to be satire, or is it straight-out dishonesty?

Anyway...media attention? Would any Portugese news outlets be interested in a story about a dastardly imposter pretending to be a beloved local author? What do your publishers think?

Assuming legal action isn't an option, that is. I'd be surprised if it wasn't - "identity theft" is becoming a big thing.
posted by Jimbob at 6:18 AM on August 21, 2006


You've got a lot of fans here...How about proposing on Metatalk a sort of email protest where we can all email blogspot and tell them that that MEC is not the real MEC? Maybe they'll pull it.
posted by poppo at 6:19 AM on August 21, 2006


Translated page, if that helps anyone.

After orgasmo, the sensation of that nothing valley the penalty. After orgasmo, the sensation of that nor orgasmo valley the penalty.

Maybe not that helpful.
posted by LarryC at 6:24 AM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I translated and read some of the comments but I didn't see the blog owner commenting. Apart from the URL, has this person actually attempted to pass themselves off as you?

I would write a comment on the site asking that they cease and desist and advising them that you are seeking legal advice (but then again, simply having that particular URL at blogspot is provocative but I would think it's legal, unless they try to actively convince people they are you).

Write to blogger and complain.

If you are worried about your reputation then I think you need someone with a high profile portuguese blog to go on record publically stating that it isn't you.

But you write for the media sometimes don't you? Perhaps you or a colleague or the editor need to publish a message denying that it's you.
posted by peacay at 6:38 AM on August 21, 2006


Thanks for all your help so far. Just to answer some queries:

Is such impersonation a criminal offense in Portugal? Could you take it up with the authorities?

I don't really know. I was hoping I could put him/her off without all that hassle, Dr Wu.

Is it possible that his name genuinely is "Miguel Esteves Cardoso?

Outlier: No, there's only one Esteves Cardoso family in Portugal. And "MEC" is what everyone calls me, in conversation, in the press, everywhere. I hate it, but it's stuck.

Enlighten us as to the contents of the blog - is it attempting to be satire, or is it straight-out dishonesty?

Hi Jimbob! How are you? No, the blog is straight-out dishonesty, masquerading as me, in the old lyrical/ironical vein.

How about proposing on Metatalk a sort of email protest where we can all email blogspot and tell them that that MEC is not the real MEC? Maybe they'll pull it.

Hey, that would definitely do it, poppo! Thanks.

Apart from the URL, has this person actually attempted to pass themselves off as you?I would write a comment on the site asking that they cease and desist and advising them that you are seeking legal advice[...]

peacay: he/she is clearly pretending to be me. He/she removes any comments which doubt it's me.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:56 AM on August 21, 2006


I think you should write a short story about how the fake MEC is actually one of your heteronyms. That would be a challenge -- a heteronym who's pretending to be the poet himself, but doesn't quite succeed?
posted by footnote at 7:33 AM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


And "MEC" is what everyone calls me, in conversation, in the press, everywhere. I hate it, but it's stuck.

Well, geez, we've done our best to promote "Migs"...

Seriously, here's Blogger's terms of service (Blogger operates the Blogspot sites). See Section 12, "Member Conduct." I think Jimbob has the right idea in going after this as an identity theft issue. Remember that Google now owns Blogger, so you could kick it upstairs to them if Blogger/Blogspot aren't helpful.

I am, of course, not a lawyer.
posted by hangashore at 7:36 AM on August 21, 2006


You should be contacting blogger itself about this identity theft issue. See this portion of its terms of service (Part 4, member conduct, item c):

"You agree to not use the Service to: (a) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; (b) harm minors in any way; (c) impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, a Pyra official, forum leader, guide or host, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity; (d) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that you do not have a right to transmit..."


Full terms here.
posted by maxpower at 8:00 AM on August 21, 2006


Consult with a solicitor regarding Portugal's libel laws.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:03 AM on August 21, 2006


Another nod toward "I don't know how things work in Portugal", but do you have an ongoing (contractual) relationship with a publisher? If so, make this their problem- they have a vested interest in protecting the integrity of your name, and are more likely to have legal resources to devote to this.
posted by mkultra at 8:35 AM on August 21, 2006


Hi, real Miguel! As soon as fake Miguel checks his stats, he'll know the game is up. If he can read English, that is. Right now almost every hit is from AskMe.

*waves to fake Miguel*
posted by iconomy at 8:46 AM on August 21, 2006


Another vote for peacay's suggestion: could you get something in a newspaper either by you or by a (sympathetic) journalist about the imposter blog? Not exactly a denial, but a "Woo isn't this freaky, look what's happening to MEC!" (sorry) piece. More people would find out about the blog itself, but at least they would all know it was a fake.
posted by penguin pie at 8:50 AM on August 21, 2006


...I haven't written a word on my old blog for years and I'd like to avoid reviving it just to say this other pseudo-blog is a fraud.

You might ought to post something to that effect, anyway. No need to Revive the blog—you could state specifically that you're not reviving, just throwing a caveat out for the record. Be short, specific, and frame it with good-humored, gentle nastiness, of course: be tiffed-but-above it, not So Angry At This Blogger Guy.

Always good to be on the record when someone is mucking around in your pool.
posted by cortex at 8:50 AM on August 21, 2006


Following up from other comments, Blogger has, in its top right corner, a thing called Flag, which, if you click on it, automatically notifies Blogger of objectionable content. I have just clicked on it and I urge everyone else reading this to do the same on the faux, sorry, falso MEC blog.

BTW, Miguel why are your books translated into alemão and not inglês?
posted by TheRaven at 9:15 AM on August 21, 2006


imitation, flattery, etc

I mean, a guy somewhere could have chosen to pretend to be, say, Luis Figo or Cristiano Ronaldo and instead they chose you? that's pretty fucking awesome

don't worry, soon you'll have Miguel impersonators in Vegas, too, and the cycle'll be complete
posted by matteo at 9:36 AM on August 21, 2006


Well, it looks like the AskMe onslaught has triumphed again: fake Miguel has just chickened out. Thanks everyone, brigade commanders and commanderinas! Your wonderfulness (and sheer military might) have once again been confirmed.

P.S. For the record, here is fake Miguel's whimperingly lame excuse in his last post:

"Tudo está feito quando se sente que tudo está feito. E sinto, neste momento, a sensação de que tudo está feito. Obrigado a todos que estiveram aí, desse lado, a pedirem o que este blogue quis pedir: volta Miguel.

Até sempre. "

And here's a translation with my notes in brackets:

"Mission accomplished

Everything is done when one feels it is done. (Is he perchance one of those steak-prodding chefs?) And I feel, at this moment, the sensation that everything is done. (The vegetables are ready too). Thanks to all who have been there, on that side, asking what this blog wanted to ask (but words somehow failed it): come back, Miguel. Always. (Shush, you peasant: you're giving me a boner.) "

posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:03 AM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Great you got it solved, Miguel. However, I'm gonna chime in and say that I don't agree with the people who are saying don't sweat it--imitation:flattery, etc.

I had this problem and worse a few years ago when one (or more--I never found out) person was impersonating me in real life (saying that they were the author of my old site, victoryshag). It was unnerving. I'd get email from people telling me that they were friends with my girlfriend, X or Y, etc. Problem was, I wasn't dating an X. Or a Y or Z. Yet these women were all apparently dating me. I'd get email from the women themselves asking why I wasn't mailing them back anymore or returning their calls. I had no idea who they were. When I tried to convince them of this, they accused me of lying and using them for sex. They asked to meet in person to prove I was a different person but I didn't want to give up my anonymity under those circumstances. They'd give me a hotmail address that the person contacted them from and I'd email the address and no reply would come. It was a nightmare and I ended up having to go with a flatout policy of not meeting anyone in real life thru the site, just so I could always just say, "Couldn't happen because I don't do that anymore..."

I tried to find out who it was but it proved impossible. I ended up writing about the situation, which helped a bit and then I just ended up killing the site because it was driving me batty.

In short, it's good you nipped it in the bud, Miguel, as it can start to get extremely frustrating and it doesn't take much for someone to ruin your reputation.
posted by dobbs at 11:18 AM on August 21, 2006


From the comments to that post, it doesn't seem like it was clear enough that he was not you... actually only one of the commenters is so much as skeptic about his identity...
posted by qvantamon at 11:38 AM on August 21, 2006


Miguel,
I've just submit this comment to the "fake", although I believe it will never show up:

"Não gosto de fraudes.

E o MEC também não: http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/44886

Volto (pela 3ª vez) a falar nas horas do blog, que continuam as da costa leste dos USA...

Estranho o facto de, dos últimos 100 visitantes, o sitemeter identifique exactamente 50 como sendo dos Estados Unidos. Ora, nos outros 50 há, além dos portugueses, os brasileiros, alemães, britânicos, canadianos....

Será possivel que o MEC desperte mais interesse nos USA que em Portugal??

Pode estar "tudo feito", mas não está tudo explicado.

E as pessoas que totalizaram 5347 (ás 20:52 em Lisboa) visitas a este blog, merecem por certo uma explicação.

Se a ideia era pedir ao MEC para voltar...lamento, mas devia ter sido conduzida de outro modo."

Tenho pena, era bom que fosse o Miguel. Mas não gosto de me sentir enganada.

Sorry to the others, I'll not translate this, my intention is just to show Miguel my support, hope you'll understand and forgive me.

Thanks - Obrigada
posted by zab at 1:18 PM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Obrigado, zab! Obrigado a todos!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:39 PM on August 21, 2006


What if our MiguelCardoso was the real internet impersonator, and MEC is the real Miguel Esteves Cardoso, and he just got bullied off the internet by supporters of the fake Miguel? Huh? Huh?

MiguelCardoso: a genuine imitation.
posted by evariste at 6:23 PM on August 21, 2006


This person may be a bit of a moron. They've moved their blog here, and are calling it ExMEC, but they're still signing their posts MEC.
posted by iconomy at 7:12 PM on August 21, 2006


Listen evarist,

You don't know what you'r talking about...
Our Miguel Esteves Cardoso is a famous Portuguese writer. And a gentleman.

The fake MEC is an impostor. Besides, when all over the main portuguese blogs, the news that he was back in the net, was spread (we now know, spread by the fake...), and the blog only had a few hours, I posted this comment in the blog I first heard the "news": "Ainda não lhe reconheci o estilo, mas vamos aguardar para ver se é só ferrugem... " Meaning: "I still don't recognize his "style", let's wait and see if it's only rust..."

The real one doesn't need any publicity at all, and certainly not this kind.

Trust me!
posted by zab at 3:25 AM on August 22, 2006


This gets better and better. Both MEC and Ex-MEC were mercifully nuked during the night. The Blogger God has spoken and all is beautifully quiet again. His words clear and true: "The requested URL was not found on this server."

Amen to that.

Thank you all again! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:13 AM on August 22, 2006


Hi zab, that was in jest :-)
posted by evariste at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hi evarist... :)
never mind... but if you insist ... “It would be argument for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest for ever.” William Shakespeare
eheh
:p
posted by zab at 2:08 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hooray for Miguel!
posted by blasdelf at 6:29 AM on August 28, 2006


« Older Graphic/Web designers, I need ...   |  Two-part question…how to know ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.