How can you detect and defend yourself against character assassination?
February 6, 2016 1:35 AM   Subscribe

What can a person do to guard/defend themselves against a suspected character assassination campaign, possibly involving online identity spoofing?

If you have reason to think former friends/acquaintances with mental health issues and/or previous professional associates may be targeting you for character assassination online (related to a labor dispute issue, other office politics, or just out of psychopathic schadenfreude, say), what can/should you do to try to defend yourself? How could you even reliably tell whether or not someone had been spoofing your identity online to damage your reputation and relationships without obsessively policing your online identity?
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It would be helpful to have more specifics. But in the most general way, you'd probably approach this similarly to other reputation management activities. For example, you could set up Google Alerts for your name, email address, and any aliases you're likely to post under. You could also make sure you're exercising maximum control over the top Google hits for your name. But if you're talking about guarding against people Joe Jobbing your email address to pretend to be ...somehow awful, maybe someone more familiar with PGP or other kinds of identity security would know better than I.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:45 AM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

This question seems too vague to really give a good answer. Spoofing yourself identity how and to do what? To sign up for embarrassing things? To pose as you on social media?

I agree that you best bet is to set up Google alerts for your name, any handles you use regularly, your email address, your phone number, etc. Every month or week you could do Google searches and use the "search tools" > "past month"/"past week" option. On social media networks that require sign-in, like Facebook, you may may not be able to Google that so you'd have to try to search that site directly, but Facebook search is awful. It's a good idea to google yourself every so often and make sure the top hits aren't anything bad.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:52 PM on February 6, 2016

You could try starting a blog and, without talking about character assassination, make a list of "Official Me Online" things. Include a statement to the effect that "Here are the things I do online. These are all my social media handles. If you run across something online that has a similar name to me but it is not on this list, it isn't me."

Address it in the vein of "It is a big wide web and lots of people have the same name or similar names. Just to avoid confusion, this is the Official list of Stuff I Do Online."

Then if someone says "Hey, I saw (icky thing online) by you/about you." You can say "Nope. It is not me. Please see my Official List."
posted by Michele in California at 1:15 PM on February 6, 2016

1. Try and register as many social media accounts using your real name and photo, so you can own your name as much as possible. (this may be difficult, especially if you don't have a unique name, but worth trying).
2. Set up a LinkedIn page, and see if any co-workers past and present would add testimonials.
3. Like others suggested, Google alerts will help trigger anything that may be said about you.
4. Starting a blog, like Michele suggested, will help both with your name SEO (people who Google your name will ideally end up at your blog) and help anyone who may be confused which you is the real you determine the truth.
5. Every few weeks, Google your own name and see where you show up in web results (make sure to click the "global" search option). If anyone Googles you, this is what they'll see -- you want to try and ensure nothing negative appears in the top results, and ideally it includes information you can control (like LinkedIn, a blog, etc.).
6. Subscribe to Lifelock or a similar service that may protect you if your identity is stolen and used for any sort of fraud.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 11:17 PM on February 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

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