Samantha Stauf reports:
"Identity theft is the most common type of cybercrime. But here’s the mind-boggling part: [V]ery little can be done legally unless the impersonating individual has committed a crime with your name or face. Right now very few states — New York, California, and Texas are among this enlightened group — have laws that protect their citizens from online impersonation. Otherwise, you’re on [y]our own. And that means writers need to take measures to prevent and stop individuals who want to profit from your name, pictures, and credentials...Since many writers are self-employed, your instinct to protect [yourself] can be overpowered by your instinct to promote your work. Despite this very fatal flaw in your online protection, you can still take measures to protect [y]our name. Create complicated passwords for your email and other online accounts. Change the passwords for these accounts every month or so. Then, create a second layer of authentication (typically a security code sent to your mobile phone) to those online accounts to prevent others from changing your password. Having a password that’s easy to remember is nice, but having one that’s secure is powerful. Here’s an uncomfortable truth: [T]here is very little you can do to prevent an unscrupulous [individual] from hijacking your authority...Mitigating authorship identity theft requires constant vigilance...Spot identity theft by...[c]onducting online searches for articles with your name or picture. Set the search tools to only show the last 24 hours or week, depending on how often you search. If [your] name isn’t a common one, setting a Google alert for your name may suffice...[Keep] an eye on articles attributed to you via social media platforms...[Look] out for any unusual email account activity...[T]o stop authority snatchers, you should ensure they will have a very hard time utilizing your name...Contact the editor of the blog the spam article was published on. Explain the situation and demand that the article be removed. If you don’t already have a working relationship with this editor, be prepared to supply proof of your identity. Ask the editor if they’ll forward you the correspondence they had with the thief...Contact every other editor you work with, preferably by email, to inform them that an identity thief might make contact under your name...If the editor gives you the email the thief used to contact them, send an email to the thief...Unfortunately, writers need to protect themselves from unethical thieves who try to profit from your name and authority. Since the law is not typically on your side in these situations, you’ll need to proactively protect yourself."
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