No politics today, folks. I have something very important to talk to you about. It has to do with people of mal-intent stealing a blogger’s identity in order to make sure their vile comments are published at the blog of someone they want to harass. I learned yesterday that my blogger identification had been stolen in order for someone(s) to harass Maggie of the popular Maggie’s Notebook blog with vile anti-Semitic comments under my blogger identification: “Jim at Conservatives on Fire”. here is how events unfolded yesterday.
At around 4:00 pm yesterday I received this e-mail from Maggie.
Hi Jim, I see two comments from you about John Doe, probably spurred on by some other commenters. He is not a freeloader. He is very conservative. He may be of Social Security age, I’m not sure, but he works every day and always has. He supports himself. He is a nationally known Master of Bronze.
I wanted to make sure your email has not been hacked, and want you to know that John Doe is really a fine man.
Let me know what brought this on.
For reasons of privacy I am not using the real name of the person who was vilified. I immediately relied to Maggie, asking who was this John Doe person. I told her that I didn’t recall any of her recent posts to have been about anybody by that name. I asked if it was an older post and could she give me the title or a link to the post in question so that I could read the comments in context and I promised that if they were my comments that I would explain myself. Well, that started a long series of e-mails between Maggie and I. She realized right away that the comments were not made by me and the first thought was that someone had hacked my WordPress account and was using it comment at her site. I immediately changed my password. Maggie knows more about how these things work than I do and in the end she suggested that I probably was not hacked. Someone was just using my blogger identity and my e-mail address to harass her. She found several other comments attributed to me which were anti-Semitic in nature. She then realized this had occurred with seven or eight other bloggers who are regular followers of Maggie’s Notebook.
So, this is what I think happened. Someone(s) wanted to mess with Maggie and her friends. They wanted to make sure that their vile comments would be published and not end up as pending or spam. My guess is that they reviewed several of Maggie’s post to see the names of commenters. Some, of which, as mine is, are links to their own blogs. They then could visit my blog and go to my About page, where they would learn my e-mail address. They could then comment under my blogger identification and Maggie’s comment moderator would recognize it as being from an already approved commenter and the comment would be published.
Maggie was able to identify three IP’s that were used to make these comments and she found a way in her comment moderator to ban comments from those IP’s as well as the URL’s and also any comments containing certain key words. At least, that is what I understand from Maggie. So, the good news is that we think Maggie has been able to thwart these jerks. I use plural because when my son came home last night, I explained what happen and he noted that two of the IP’s were consecutive numbers. He traced them to somewhere near Phoenix, Arizona and the third IP he traced to somewhere near Manchester, England. It appears then, that there are at least two of these blogger identity thieves who have been molesting Maggie. But, that is not the end of the story. (BTW, Maggie is doing a post on what happened as well today. Be sure to check it out.)
Although we think Maggie is now protected, the other problem is that my good name and those of seven or eight other people have been dragged through the mud. Many bloggers have some followers in common. I can just imagine some of my followers reading these comments at Maggie’s Notebook and thinking: “Wow! I never knew Jim was this kind of person. I’m never going to visit his site again”
Here is the thing, dear friends. Maggie could have read those comments that appeared to be from me and just banned me from ever commenting at her place again. I would never have known what happened. But, bless her heart, Maggie had the good sense to contact me and question if these comments were really from me. If this can happen to Maggie and I and several other people, it can happen to you too. So, please, if you receive a comment from one of your regulars that seems out of line, contact them and ask for clarification. I believe that I may have had one of these false comments here about a month ago. For the life of me I can not remember which of my regulars it was, bu I received a comment from him that was definitely out of character for him and I replied: “Really, (name)? This doesn’t sound like you.” And, then I forgot about it and he still is a regular commenter here and all comments since been normal.
So, be alert, my friends. There are some real low-lifes out there who steal and use the identification of bloggers to wreak havoc with other bloggers. These are not your normal trolls. These jerks are intent on harming others.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?
Update 1: For some reason, I am unable to comment at WordPress sites today. I don’t know if it is related to the subject of today’s post or not.
Update 2. Steve Dennis, if you come by, please tell me how you contacted WordPress so quickly the other day. I keep getting diverted to forums. I still can not comment on other Worfpress sites; such as, yours. Thanks, Steve.
Update 3. The problem of not being able to comment at other WordPress sites has been solved. Because I changed my password, I needed to reregister at WordPress sited even though they showed me to already be registered. ¡ Gracias a Dios!