Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A Sobering realisation

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.


Librarian said...

How very mean of whoever is behind the attempted extortion! (Is that the right term?)
So far, I have never had qualms in showing my picture online; not here on blogger, nor on XING, but I am staying away Facebook because of their non-existing protection of personal data of their members. No unpleasant experiences for me have resulted from my (admittedly, sometimes rather careless) use of my own pictures on the internet, but then again, of course I don't know if there is not someone out there using my pictures for whatever purpose suits them. I hope not - and, to be honest, I think I am simply not blessed with the kind of looks people would fall for on an online-dating platform. There must be millions of pictures out there which promise better results.
Therefore, yes, that someone used your pictures to create an ideal persona is a kind of compliment, although one you could have done very well without.

Friko said...

I must admit you look rather handsome and debonair, well-suited to impersonation.

I hope the blighter - if it is a he and not a her or a them - leaves you alone.

PerlNumquist said...

Thank you dear. But like so many on the internet, I put my best face forward. But hey, at least it is my face :-)
We all have no idea whether our photos or information are being copied and used for any purpose in this huge virtual world. I once found one of my blog posts badly plagiarised on a creative writing website (just a few words changed here and there, which rendered it very clumsy). It appears to be unavoidable and I suppose the lesson is that we have to bear this in mind when we post or upload.