Sue Scheff: Identity Theft Made Easy with Twitter?

twitterO-kay, I don’t get the Twitter craze, however it is obvious I am the one missing out as I hear about it from many media sources etc.  Learn more about how to keep safe on this “Twitter” – as with many social networks, approach with caution – but you can still have fun.

Source: ReputationDefender Blog

In case you didn’t already know, Twitter is the latest “it” fad in the world of social media. From Demi Moore’s suicide prevention tweeting to the news of a potential Google-Twitter merger, it seems that not one week goes by without a major news story about the popular microblogging service.

Unfortunately, it isn’t all wine and roses at Twitter. Since the service emerged in 2006, one of the consistent complaints against it has been the ease with which individuals can set up phony accounts in someone else’s name. With such a large volume of users, it is impossible for Twitter to monitor each individual sign-up for validity. This means that someone could send out hundreds of tweets under your name, before you caught on. That’s what happened to Televangelist Robert H. Schuller, whose Twitter problem was discussed in a recent article at MSNBC.com.

From the article:

Televangelist Robert H. Schuller has reached millions worldwide with his weekly “Hour of Power” TV broadcasts, but when it comes to the Internet, he had a high-tech headache: an online impostor.

When Schuller, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral megachurch, recently tried to set up an account on the micro-blogging Web site Twitter.com, he discovered another user masquerading as himself.

 [SNIP]

Schuller’s impersonator — who remains unidentified — seemed to know a lot about that history and the preacher’s life, said Nason, the spokesman. The impostor said in his early tweets that he was Schuller’s assistant, but then went on to say he was Schuller himself and even talked about the preacher’s wife, Nason said.

“The content seemed fairly normal for someone like Dr. Schuller to say,” Fayer said. “But in the future you don’t know how they’re going to use that. What if they start asking people to send money and say, ‘Send money to X,Y,Z’?”

The rest of the article details several other prominent phony Twitter accounts including a fake Stephen Colbert and a fake Tina Fey.

While it may not seem like a big deal to some, it is important to note that Reverend Schuller is a very prominent individual with a PR staff dedicated to catching issues like this. For the average person, it could be months before a Twitter fraud is exposed. That is why it is more important than ever for individuals to take full control of their image online and be proactive in Online Reputation Management.

Advertisements