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How to Fight Name Scraping Scammers? 390

CurtMonash writes "I was ego-surfing the other day, and was surprised to discover that I was listed as a member of an on-line dating service. It turns out these scamsters generate web pages for lots of (FirstName, LastName) combos, each claiming that the named individual is a member of their service. I posted about this, and discovered other people were upset, at least one had lost interest in a guy because he appeared to be a member, and so on. I've since followed up with lessons learned, a big one being that everybody should have a visible web presence. But frankly, the ideas I've come up with for fighting this kind of reputation scam seem fairly weak. Do Slashdotters have any better ideas?"
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How to Fight Name Scraping Scammers?

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  • "I was ego-surfing the other day ..."

    You seem to have caught a wave, unless of course your name happens to be Mortimer Onlyoneontheplanet!

  • Great! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:14AM (#24083373) Journal

    "I was ego-surfing the other day, and was surprised to discover that I was listed as a member of the an on-line dating service.

    So, did you get any hits?

  • Web presence? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:16AM (#24083391)
    It would be nice if the author explained why he thinks that everybody should have a web presence. I don't buy it. I don't have a web presence at all (none of that Myspace/Facebook crap-ola), and I've been pretty successful in staying off the radar that way.
    • Re:Web presence? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kalirion ( 728907 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:25AM (#24083473)

      What he's saying is that now some sleazy site might generate your name and if it's uncommon enough you will have web presence that you probably won't like.

      • Well, how does that help?

        Let's say I'm named Joe Random and even register, blog under that name on a site or two, I'm on Twitter under that name, on Slashdot, etc. Basically that I make myself very visible on the net. Ok.

        Now suppose someone puts my name on a few dating sites, posts other crap in my name, maybe even make a few posts on usenet groups (which by now are fully searchable) in my name. Maybe send some spam in my name too. So someone googling for me, finds those too.

        How's my alrea

    • Well, Dog, I agree with your premise... but unfortunately you _do_ have a web premise. At the very least, you have a presence on /. at the very least. Yes, I do not have facebook/myspace other, but I am on other sites all over the web. If you search for DogDude and slashdot for instance, you may be surprised what pops up.

      That said, you are right, just having a web presence doesn't protect you from this sort of thing, actually, it may hardly insulate you. If a page generator puts your name in some combi
    • Re:Web presence? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShaunC ( 203807 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:29AM (#24083531)

      It would be nice if the author explained why he thinks that everybody should have a web presence.

      I suspect the idea is that if you maintain your own website, people who are Googling you at random will come across that first, and may not pay attention to the shady results at all. Your name is essentially your very own brand; might as well try to paint it in a decent light.

      • Well, that might work. My real name is not considered ordinary or common by any means, yet every social site on the Internet already has someone with my name on it. So, how exactly, am I to protect myself with a web presence? God forbid that John Smith want to do the same. How does the author know it was about him and not some other schmuck with his name?

        Just because your parents gave you a couple of monikers, it does not mean you have exclusive rights to them... generally speaking. The artist was was forme

        • Re:Web presence? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:47AM (#24084543) Homepage

          How does the author know it was about him and not some other schmuck with his name?

          I just searched Google for "gnick" - A moniker that, I thought, would be rather obscure. Of the first 100 hits, 1 related to me - A long expired digg post. What was strange, though, was that I had to click through a few others because they sure sounded like me, but turned out to be somebody else.

          I've also "ego-surfed" (a new term to me) using my given name. I found a lot related to me, some immigration stuff about my great-grandfather (with whom I share a first and last name) who brought my grandfather with him when he moved to the US, some of my publications, some publications that I had to peruse to be sure that I hadn't been cited without permission (somebody else with my fairly unusual name apparently works in a very similar, obscure field in California), and one publication where I had in fact been cited without my permission.

          Long story short - Even with first hand knowledge I don't know whether my web presence relates to me or not without some in-depth investigation.

          • I tried googling for myself and found books by authors with my name have written about games programming, C++, pascal, and one about police chases. That's quite funny because I've written games, code in C++ and Pascal, and got stopped by the police for speeding in March..! I wonder if names somehow correlate to personality, or fields of interest :p

            More likely it's all just coincidence. Of course lots of people have the same name - though I was surprised so many people have theirs spelled exactly the same as

        • by chimpo13 ( 471212 ) <> on Monday July 07, 2008 @12:36PM (#24085349) Homepage Journal

          Being named Dave Smith has its benefits. About 15 years ago, I got pulled over, and the cop was laughing about how I had a drivers license in another state, an arrest warrant in another state that I hadn't been too, and half a dozen addresses in California. He still gave me the ticket. I wonder how many Dave Smiths I show up as now. Maybe I'll go outside and do donuts until a cop comes along.

          Security through familiarity is why I won't move away from 123 Anystreet.

      • by SL Baur ( 19540 )

        Your name is essentially your very own brand; might as well try to paint it in a decent light.

        Yes, but ...

        I have a relatively rare spelling of my last name. More typical is "Bauer". Before there was a Google, there were two other people with my name appearing in search results - an actor who appeared in a small role in Scarface and a Hockey playing goalie in Canada.

        So which of us gets or steven.baur (with the new TLDs) as a domain to protect "our good name"?

    • Re:Web presence? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:00AM (#24083883)

      I'm assuming that the point is to make sure that people who search for your name (from a perspective boss to a perspective boy/girlfriend) can find the truth. You can also add a note pointing out that a scummy site has falsely used your name.

    • Re:Web presence? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:00AM (#24083885) Homepage Journal

      I had the same question. I've been actively trying to *REDUCE* my web presence, at least with my real name and email.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by f2x ( 1168695 ) *

      It would be nice if the author explained why he thinks that everybody should have a web presence. I don't buy it...

      I was wondering the exact same thing. I used to have a vanity, but I let it go when I realized it was essentially useless. Also, it's not like too many people out there have a completely unique first and last name combo. Just as there's more than one "Jon Smith" out there, even I have to share my name with some other lesser-knowns.

      And while I still have a web presence, I do try to keep it somewhat insulated from my legal name. From this post you can find the real me, but the reverse is still m

    • Find this comment and more at DogDude's web site []!

  • by courteaudotbiz ( 1191083 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:21AM (#24083431) Homepage
    I've been caught by my girlfriend... she received a message on an online dating service (WTF!!!) from a guy searching for a Fu** friend. This guy was *ME*. Someone stole my picture off Facebook, and sent it to my girlfriend pretending *HE* was *ME*. Maybe I should just deactivate my Facebook account if I want to keep my girlfriend. Or maybe I should prevent her from having an account on an online dating service!
    • by Psmylie ( 169236 ) * on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:24AM (#24083457) Homepage
      Little of column A, little of column B.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:56AM (#24083821) Journal

      This was going to b ethe topic of my journal today, but now it won't be. There's a writer for the St Louis Post Dispatch that encourages looking up prospective dates on various sites. This is what was actually finished (it was going to be a long journal)

      I was noodling around the various newspapers, and since I'm originally from the St. Louis arew I checked out the Post Dispatch. In it I ran across an item called The Data Diva says: Check your date out before you go out [].

      This nerdy looking (but not bad looking) lady, Jaimi Dowdell, seems to think that you should google your dates. I think her tinfoil hat is on too tight.

      Speaking of tinfoil hats, soon you might need one for real [], at least if you're going to demonstrate in front of the capitol.

      But I digress. Ms. "Diva" may google, but she obviously doesn't wiki, as a diva is a singer. Anyway, she writes

      That's right, friends. I background my dates
      I may not have figured out how to find Mr. Right, but I can assure you that information about Mr. Wrong is everywhere. You just have to know where to look.

      And I'm not just talking to the ladies. Guys, we've got closets, too. With a little work, you can get past her shoes and wardrobe to see if any skeletons are rattling around.

      Right about now, some of you are probably thinking I'm just a little creepy.

      Not just creepy, but seriously delusional.

      Each time you buy a house, register to vote, list your phone number, etc. you leave a trail containing bits and pieces of your life. The Web site ZabaSearch crawls the online world picking up this trail from sites containing public records and other personal information.

      So I looked up this zabasearch to see if I could find myself. I plugged in "steve mcgrew", my meatspace name.

      No, I'm not the comedian from Colorado. There were hits; lots and lots of hits. So I narrowed it down to Illinois.

      Lots of hits. Lots and lots of hits. Stephanie McGrew. Serena McGrew. Sharon McGrew. So I narrowed it down further and did an in-browser search for "Springfield". Finally it found me - from eight fucking years ago! It listed my age correctly, but had my address on reservoir. I moved out of that rented house in 2000 when I bought the house on 7th street. The house on 7th street I diaried about extensively on K5 after my marriage came apart.

      There is some SERIOUSLY bad data on this site! I clicked "images" and there were a lot of images. Images of people I never met, not one of them me. This despite the fact that I've uplodaed several pics of myself to various places, including my old now-defunct domain

      The comedian from Colorado was prominent in the photos. There's one of him with Dolly parton.

      It says it has a home address and phone number, which it will gladly cough up for a price.

      Nope. The only phone I have is a Net 10 prepaid phone. You're not going to find its number on the internet. The search site is a scam; I should sue them for slander, since it thinks I'm the comedian from Colorado, who had the web site "Steve McGrew's White Trash World".

      It says it knows my income and home value. Not likely! Not if it thinks I still live on Reservoir Street.

      Personally, I'd have to be a LOT harder up to go out with the sort of freak who would investigate someone before dating them, and someone dumb enough to think that you could actually learn anything about a person from the internet.

    • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:14AM (#24084065) Journal

      If your girlfriend has an account at a dating service, you don't have a girlfriend, you have a fuckbuddy. Nothing wrong with that, just be sure to use a condom.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rickb928 ( 945187 )

        *I* have an online dating account, actually more than one. They are all dormant.

        I keep one because it's a charter account, from when they were free - lifetime free for me, and even though I don't use it, it's stupid pride. I'll get rid of it sometime soon probably. Some of the others are actually links to this profile, as they share with a lot of other sites (no, they *run* the other sites under other commercial names).

        I don't have a Facebook or MySpace account. These are just too insecure, as much anecd

    • Yes, the real question is this:
      Why does she have an account on a dating service site in the first place? If she's had it open since before you two were dating, ok, I can understand that, but you'd think she'd close the account or change the status or something. Otherwise I'd be worried about her intentions of sticking around...

      Of course, maybe you're just sticking her while she's sticking around. *shrug*
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dontPanik ( 1296779 )
      Just make sure you stick to your original story. "Someone stole your picture."
  • Libel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:21AM (#24083433) Homepage

    > Do Slashdotters have any better ideas?

    File libel lawsuits.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      File libel lawsuits.

      Against who, exactly? The dating site, which is likely a scam front for stealing personal data from people who reply to the ad. The sites' host? Good luck there. Most decent hosts may take the site down, but there are few well-known hosting companies that would tell you, "Hey, they paid the bill, so they do whatever they want." The possible scammer behind the email? If he is using your identity to send out the emails to begin with, do you really think he used his real info to setup any of the the accounts.

    • Re:Libel (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:46AM (#24083691)

      I think the better route would be to use a completely unique handle to represent yourself online. For instance, I spent 12 years in the military as both a commanding officer and a chef. Did I mention I was stationed in Mexico? So, when I left the service, I decided to use the handle "CmdrTaco" while browsing my favorite dating and BSDM sites...


      Someone is posing as me []

      "October 20, 2007 - Slashdot 10th Anniversary, with CmdrTaco (1)"

      Damn him. He has hip glasses and a sexy goatee! How the hell can I compare to that!

      I need to track this CmdrTaco bastard down so I can have a better chance on the dating scene.


    • Re:Libel (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:55AM (#24083813)
      You are being nibbled on by a thousand ants. Shooting them off one at a time is probably not your best option.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:22AM (#24083439) Homepage

    the ideas I've come up with for fighting this kind of reputation scam seem fairly weak.

    How about people not believing everything they hear from a source they know nothing about? There's no general solution to the problem of people spreading unfounded rumors other than people being more skeptical of new untested information sources. This will take time as people come to realize that "the internet" isn't a single source of information.

    • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:29AM (#24083525) Homepage Journal

      This will take time as people come to realize that "the internet" isn't a single source of information.

      Yet, the World Wide Web is accessible as if it were a single source of information. That's what confuses people. All they seem to know is they open up "The Internet" on their PC by clicking the little blue "e".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RobinH ( 124750 )

      What I think is a bigger concern is the number of employers who will now Google your name before hiring you. They could easily be fooled into thinking that these are legitimate search results.

  • Names are not unique (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:23AM (#24083449)

    What makes you think this is some type of scam, and not merely somebody with the same name as you?

    No, just because you have an unusual name, it doesn't mean you are the only one with it. I have a very unusual name too. I've never even met anybody with the same surname that wasn't a member of my immediate family. I've googled my own name; I'm the only person with my name that has a web presence. But when a website was launched to check how unique your name is [], I discovered that there are at least two other people with my name in my country alone. If I registered on a dating site, those two people would probably feel the same about me.

    Unless there's something actually linking you personally to this site, like a photo or bio, I don't see any basis for calling this a scam. Your name is not unique enough to be your property.

    • by querist ( 97166 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:29AM (#24083529) Homepage

      I hate to say it, but I am not so sure about that site you listed.

      I just checked my name and it says I don't exist.

      Well, that's OK, except that the site you listed is in the UK.
      My family came from the UK.
      My surname has 6 pages in the Cardiff phone book.
      My given name is a VERY common man's given name in Wales.

      In other words, I find it VERY difficult to believe that there is no one else with my given name / surname combination in the UK.

      The "You do not exist" message is rather amusing, though, and good for a laugh.

      • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:35AM (#24083583)
        Well, its probably because the site in questions on deals with human beings, and isn't catered to the average Welshman's *cough* unique *cough* tastes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bogtha ( 906264 )

        That's interesting. The site has been around for a while, and it's based on electoral roll data from the year 2000. These genealogy people [] seem to think that it's legit, if a little inaccurate, giving numbers in the same vicinity as other sources. It's certainly given consistent results over the years. This is a similar service for USA data [], and it gives similar results (rare names give low numbers, common names give high numbers).

        You didn't put an asterisk in the first name field did you? You don't

    • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:50AM (#24083753)

      But when a website was launched to check how unique your name is []

      Is anybody else horrified by that domain name?


      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        hehe, rest assured: the site is also reachable at:, but I guess the gpp chose to use the more common URL for the site!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by noidentity ( 188756 )
        What, you've never owned a notme before? The site gives information about "your notme".
    • by caluml ( 551744 )
      Oh, fuck no. They even can't spell their own domain name right. ?, surely. Unless they're talking about my "notme", whatever a notme is. William Somervail, hang your head in shame.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Well, according to Bill Keane, a "notme" is a little ghost-like
        figure, that little kids find handy for blaming things on.

    • Unless there's something actually linking you personally to this site, like a photo or bio, [...]

      Yes, that is exactly the original complaint. And it's something I'm now seeing regularly in one corner of the internet.

      There's a particular dating website I'm a member of that allows members to vote on deleting other accounts (for fraud or violation of their ToS). Through their user moderation system I'm seeing many profiles that appear to be Nigerian scammers that are creating profiles using pictures and name

  • Oh, please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) * on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:23AM (#24083451) Journal

    I've since followed up with lessons learned, a big one being that everybody should have a visible web presence

    I strongly disagree with that conclusion. There are already too many people with cringe-worthy web presences. Besides, most reasonable people know better than to believe everything they read.

    • Sure, a lot of people aren't very good with writing or page layout, and wind up with gaudy, ugly web "presences". But I *also* put a lot of that blame on some of the "social networking" sites that most people turn to these days to create their pages.

      I consider MySpace the biggest contributor to the problem. They may be VERY well known, but it seems like it's difficult NOT to create a cluttered mess out of your profile there! Even small businesses and rock bands trying to use them for some free publicity

      • You have a point or two, but that's not really what I meant. The lack of tasteful design is nothing compared to the rants, raves, and missives people unleash online. Some of those people may actually grow up to have the sense be horrified at what they've posted. :)
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )

      Besides, most reasonable people know better than to believe everything they read.

      True, but it's also true that most people aren't reasonable.

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:26AM (#24083477) Journal

    My name is fairly common (last name is Miller) - there's roughly 4 of us in the company I work for (out of 95k employees), and there's about forty of me w/ the same first/last name combo (with various differences in middle names and etc.) in the metro area phone book.

    It's not just online, either - I remember awhile when some idiot collection agency kept bugging me over some other guy's debt, because we happened to share the same first/last name combo. I tried to tell them this repeatedly, then finally out of frustration told 'em: "see you in court, idiot!" It never came to fruition, and my credit record never reflected it *shrug*

    I guess that's why I never really worried if I see my name online - chances are it's not me anyway.


  • From the Linked Blog (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sabre86 ( 730704 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:27AM (#24083487)
    In case you didn't actually read her linked blog, the girl who supposedly decided not to pursue someone because she was on JLove apparently did so because she thought he was Jewish. In fact, she makes the rather ironic statement:

    Hmmm. Hot Jewish single guy on one hand or accepting the Jesus as my Lord and Savior? Sigh.

    I have to say, I don't understand how this situation is a dilemma, never mind the whole idea that actually talking to people about who they are -- rather than attempting to search them out on the internet* -- is fundamental to building relationships

    So, while JLove probably is being pretty underhanded in making up members, I don't think it can really be blamed for this potential couple's failure to actualize.


    *The Internet, TM. Where everything is true!

  • I think the problem may be that you use your name as your internet handle? If Curt Monash is your real name, it's pretty easy to see your web presence and scrapers will have no problem putting your first and last name together, it doesn't even have to be randomly generated in your case. [] [] []

    I'm sure this actually may be an issue in the future, but how can you stop them from putting X together with

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I got an friend invite on Myspace from my wife... who has an pretty unique first name. She has never had an myspace, but I have encouraged her to create one only for the purpose of reuniting with old real life friends. So I click on it thinking she finally created one... Only to find some really nice looking nekkid blond (not my wife).

    I showed it too her, she was not amused, but I found it hysterical.

  • Turn the tables! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nichotin ( 794369 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:28AM (#24083521)
    I know this might be a long shot, but if people really believe all they see when they google your name on google, how about taking advantage of that? After I had googled my own name, I realised how lucky I am because what you find is basically tech reviews done by me and some old karate scoreboards with me even winning some medals. Putting some effort in it, I could probably make it look like I am also doing third wold humanitarian work, help the poor, fight cancer etc. That would probably fly well with all nosy employers and possible future employers that like to google people. And if someoene asks, you could either stick with the story or dismiss it as a coincidence because someone shares your name. For the record, I do have a name that is most likely unique.
    • Must be nice... I ego-googled just for a second, and found out that I'm an electrical engineering professor (though I used to have an EE, this guy ain't me), and a former Attorney General for the state of Iowa, among other things... Judging by the first page or two, potential employers are going to probably going to give up in frustration if they ever want to peek in on me online...


    • The first hit on google for my name is a facebook profile... but not mine, someone with the same name as me.
      The first page has one post by me (on a geneology website) and the second page has some links about me winning a poster prize at a conference. The rest isn't me.
  • I don't get it... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chysn ( 898420 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:29AM (#24083535)

    * Bots are scraping names off the web
    * Scammers use those names to do bad things
    * Therefore, you should put your name on the web

    That seems like a bad syllogism. I'm not saying the conclusion (that you need a strong web presence) is wrong. I'm just saying that if you're going to make a counter-intuitive conclusion, you need to connect the dots. You know, for us dumb guys.

  • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:32AM (#24083561) Homepage Journal

    I was ego-surfing the other day, and was surprised to discover that I was listed as a member of the an on-line dating service.

    I don't see anything on the jLove Curt Monash page [] that demonstrates that it's the guy who submitted this article. Surely there's more than one "Curt Monash" in the world?

    If the site had scraped your Web site URL, e-mail address, or some other personal identifier that made the page look more "authentic", then there's a scam and a real privacy issue for us to be concerned about. If some computer is just putting together combinations of first and last names and building pages with no further personally identifiable information, that's spam for Google to worry about, not a scam or a privacy infringement for us to worry about.

    at least one had lost interest in a guy because he appeared to be a member

    The world is full of idiots. Just because someone's NAME (which is far from unique) is on a dating site, they lost interest? I'd say the guy had a lucky escape!

    If there's any problem here, it's the Western naming convention that allows thousands of people to end up with the same name. Perhaps we should all become known by our e-mail addresses or IM screennames in the future to avoid this.

    • by ormico ( 1226940 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:48AM (#24083719)

      From now on I would like to be known as {FDCCD2BA-EDF4-4b71-A8FD-F7423A51D228} but my friends can call me FDCCD2BA for short.

    • "If some computer is just putting together combinations of first and last names and building pages with no further personally identifiable information, that's spam for Google to worry about, not a scam or a privacy infringement for us to worry about."

      This is exactly it!!! I say this because as I have mentioned below, I run a dating site and it's a necessary evil to generate name pairs, as you suggested, to attract new members for sites that are just starting up. I usually have most of mine expire after a
      • Yes, it's a necessary evil to deceive potential customers when you have nothing to offer. Sure it's fraudulent, but how else is a scammer supposed to get anywhere?

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:34AM (#24083567) Homepage

    I got a notice that I had signed up for "WeeWorld" which appears to be a MySpace type site with avatars or something. Honestly, I wasn't really interested in the site beyond the fact that, somehow, "I" was now a member. Not only that, but "I" apparently had already communicated with some of "my" friends on there. I quickly assessed the situation and determined that nothing in my e-mail account indicated any hacking there. In fact, the site didn't have any sort of e-mail confirmation. It just took an e-mail address, assumed that the person was giving their real address, and then sent e-mails to that user notifying them whenever someone sent them a message.

    So it looked like someone just decided to use my e-mail address in the "e-mail address" line when they signed up. Since the service nicely sent me "my" password when "I" signed up, I used it to log in. Then, I decided to lock "other me" out, so I changed the password. Then I changed the name on the account to "DON'T USE E-MAIL ADDYS THAT AREN'T YOURS" (so all of "other me's" friends would see what he did). Next, I contacted WeeWorld to report the abuse. They offered to close the account. I waited for a few days in the hopes that "other me" would realize that he was now locked out of his profile and had his name changed. Then I had them close the account.

    Part of me was satisfied that, perhaps, he learned his lesson. Of course, another part of me realizes that he probably just signed up again with someone else's e-mail address. A very simple e-mail confirmation would stop abuses like this from happening. Sure, an abuser could use a hacked into e-mail account, but it is a simple action that raises the bar above most of the would-be abusers' heads.

    • It's even worse when there is no way to remove yourself from the rolls, or even contact an administrator. Someone used my e-mail address to sign up for some physical education tracking site that the US Navy set up, with bonuses for good work. Kids stuff, literally.

      I only received confirmation that 'I' had signed up. There was no 'are you really you' e-mail before the account was activated (and I've been 'signed up' for any number of sites that let you post even before you confirm), no way of deactivating

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:38AM (#24083623)

    and discovered other people were upset, at least one had lost interest in a guy because he appeared to be a member,

    Well, specifically, he found a blog entry [] from someone else, saying:

    I went back, caught his name and cyberstalked him. I found out he was an investor. I found out that he was a runner. And soon enough, I found him on a singles page called "," a website for Jewish singles.

    So she believes everything she reads online, she assumes that just because the name matches it's the right person and she makes no effort to speak to him face to face. Yeah. Just the kind of woman I'm interested in getting to know.

    I think the guy she was cyberstalking had a lucky escape.

  • by Veggiesama ( 1203068 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:41AM (#24083649)

    Change your name to something more unique (try to throw in a few numbers).

    Leave the country. Try for one of those places without computers. Solitary islands work best.

    Have some reconstructive surgery. It is important that your face is altered, but if other parts of your body need work, well, that's your call.

    Buy a big fluffy white cat. Not optional.

    Design a plan... to take over the world...

  • by autocracy ( 192714 ) <slashdot2007&storyinmemo,com> on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:48AM (#24083721) Homepage
    Originally I was the only person who showed up in search results with my name. Unfortunately, that has changed. I'm very curious how many would-be dates have not happened because of this Google search: []
    • I'd worry more about this [] search more. Feel free to replace "gay" with "serial killer", "playa", "wife beater" and other fun combinations ;)

      • Oh, it gets better. During the time that I was running for State House, many local publications listed the names / info about people running for office. Gay Portland must have done some great maneuvering with Page Rank, 'cause they won slot #1.

        Your link, at least, doesn't show anything in the first ten that could be mistaken for me... as opposed to the similarly aged bank robber who lived in Massachusetts.

  • by ehrichweiss ( 706417 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:53AM (#24083803)
    I run a dating site and profile generation is a necessity. You see, in order to get people to join a dating site, you have to have people who already joined the dating site to attract them; it's a catch-22 that we cannot avoid. Usually the fake profiles have an expiration date of 1 year so after that the accounts just die off but regardless, your name isn't protected by any laws and can be used in works of fiction without your approval. Just get over it cause I've got some guy using my real name in a gospel band and as sickening as I find that, I don't care as I have better things to worry about.
    • by Viadd ( 173388 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:11AM (#24084027)

      In other words, assholes like you commit fraud, so everybody else should just live with it.

      Besides, if you are the real Ehrich Weiss [], even if your victim got you thrown in jail you would just break out.

    • by penguin_dance ( 536599 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:11AM (#24084033)

      You see, in order to get people to join a dating site, you have to fradulantly claim to have people who already joined the dating site to attract them; it's a catch-22 that we cannot avoid.

      There, fixed that.

      And I'll bet those profiles sound really good and new members wonder why they can't ever get hooked up with the fake profiles.

      Smells like scam to me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ehrichweiss ( 706417 )
        I don't claim anything AND since my site is completely free I can do with it as I see fit. There is no fraud despite your myopic view.

        Most of those new members ignore the initial members since their profiles dropped off long ago, or did you miss that part when composing your great come-back in your mind?
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )

      You guys shoot yourselves in the feet with your scams. And yes, they ARE scams. If you charge for your service (and I have yet to see a free one) you are defrauding people.

      While not being able to connect with anyone at a dating site, I managed to connect with women at non-dating sites. I met a very attractive woman while at K5 who unfortunately lives a thousand miles away.

      When someone who has paid you to join your site starts a class-action suit against you for your fraud, don't be too surprised. You will d

    • this isn't "scamming"

      In what sense isn't it scamming? Other than the sense that you say it isn't, so it can't be.

      You see, in order to get people to join a dating site, you have to have people who already joined the dating site ... we cannot avoid .. the fake profiles

      It being necessary for making your business model work doesn't make it any less of a scam. It just makes your business model unworkable by legal means. You know, like most scams.
      You admit they're fake. You admit that you are lying to people, a

  • There are groups of organized computer savvy persons who take it upon themselves to ,infiltrate,hack,threaten and take down kiddie porn sites with their skilz.Vigilance is not a dirty word and if authorities are unable,unskilled or uninterested ,vigilance is the only choice.
    I propose a group of the talented to do the same to scammers and the hosts who allow them to continue.Ddos,hack and generally F**K up the plans of those who disrupt our lives in the name of their own p

  • Hopefully your name isn't listed on []

  • by mikeplokta ( 223052 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:00AM (#24083875)

    The US in general seems to have a big problem with mistaking names for identities, hence "no-fly lists" and other such idiocies. The solution here is to spread the meme that a name is not an identity, and you should make no assumptions if you see someone's name in an unfamiliar context.

  • Yes, we are all shocked that dating web sites put up fake information. I'm not talking of the person who posts a fake profile, but dating sites that generate their own fake profiles. I mean the ones like and that put up fake profiles.

    In fact, an ex-employee of sexsearch said that he was surprised that anyone on the site could find a woman. Amateurmatch, will send you send you e-mails from fake women to get you to sign up.

  • Avoid as much as possible putting your firstname, lastname combination on the web. Too much information is online already. In fact, the more personal information you keep off the web, the better. Setting up a Facebook page is one of the worst things you can do from a privacy standpoint. I'm shocked at some of the things people do, even on Slashdot. Those weekly-changing email obfuscations? Give me a few hours and I'll write an app to decipher most of them. Give me a week and I'll write an app to decipher an

    • But what's particularly sensitive about any of that information you listed? Name, address and phone number, well, I'm in the phone book, anybody who knows my name can get that information in a few seconds. Who I work for? That's not particularly sensitive (unless you work for No Such Agency or something), and anybody who knows your address can probably ask around and find out if they don't already know. Age and date of birth? Nobody's particularly careful about their age, and date of birth's required so man

  • A while back I started getting emails from a French dating web site, gushingly inviting me to all sorts of events. Needless to say, I had never signed up, and since the email was a spam honeypot address, there was nobody there to sign up anyway.

    I sent them nice email asking to be removed. No dice. I sent them nasty email asking to be removed. Ditto. I looked around their web site for unsubscribe information. You kidding?

    So I got nasty and updated "my" profile, after making an educated guess on what the

  • There is probably 100's of people with the same name as you anyway, so websites filled with accounts in "your name" don't make any difference.

    News at 11.

  • by justrob ( 445616 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @12:46PM (#24085497)

    In Vernor Vinge's near-future novel Rainbows End, an anarchist group gets fed up with trying to sort out what information about people is correct or not.

    Their solution is to flood the net with false information about everyone, making the net a useless resource for gossip.

    Available free and legal online:

Overflow on /dev/null, please empty the bit bucket.