I received an email this week which I was initially sceptical about, from a lady in Malaysia. It seems someone has been using my profile pictures from this blog and from LinkedIn and passing them off as pictures of himself. He did this, seemingly, to create a persona which he could use to attempt to cultivate a relationship. I read the correspondence, which was on the one side touching, trusting and lovely and on the other, (evidently now) cynical and nasty. I could be mistaken but I see no gain in anyone revealing a very personal set of messages to me and nothing has been asked from me except "Is this your picture?"
Reading the messages, the chap is pretending to be English, from a Canadian background. It was evident from the patterns of language that this was not a native English speaker. It appeared to be leading up to a request for money, and indeed, the lady, who in my own correspondence with her seems quite honest though very disappointed, subsequently received such a request. It is all rather sleazy and I am dismayed that sincerity can be feigned in such a disgustingly mercenary way.
But it is sometimes a very merciless world and being brought face-to-face with this, which intellectually, I suppose I already knew, is quite sobering.
And that my photos were used as the image for a persona with such an underhand agenda, such malicious intent, alarms me. I am considering carefully if my online presence should be changed and if so how.
However, that my pictures were used to create an "ideal persona" in its way is a slight consolation.