Blogger Identity Theft _ Update 1, Update 2, Update 3

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.
Thanks,
Maggie
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!
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61 thoughts on “Blogger Identity Theft _ Update 1, Update 2, Update 3

  1. The Internet can be an ugly place. Yours is another example of that. It is, and always will be, a struggle of the good guys against the bad. The Net just makes it easier for the bad guys.

    It is hard telling how many other places beyond Maggie that your blogger ID has been misused. 😦

  2. Yep. Stuff like that is the bane of every body on the internet (bloggers or otherwise.) I myself have a huge chunk of banned IPs, URLs and key words. I’m glad you go that straightened out. I usually change my password at least once a month.

    So, um, if I get an comment on my blog from “Jim at conservatives on fire” saying “I think Nancy Pelosi is sexy’ I should assume it’s not from you 🙂

  3. I had the same thing happen to me at Creative Minority Report. The difference is I saw the comment that was supposed to be me, but wasn’t. The other commenters at CMR immediately jumped in and all said that certainly didn’t sound like me and they didn’t believe it was me.

    I was in a complete panic and emailed both Matt and Pat Archbold telling them to please delete the comments as I didn’t leave them. But Matt and Pat (bless their hearts) were already on it and the comments were gone. I had already left a few comments telling people that those other comments were absolutely not mine. For one thing, they didn’t have my avatar – only my name which linked back to my blog.

    It sure made me sit back and wonder how many other places that person struck. Since I visit and comment at hundreds of sites, there was no simple way to follow up.

    Glad Maggie’s hot on the trail…

  4. As a troll’s troll, my only comment is that impersonating other bloggers is extremely easy to do. I “retaliate in kind” to those who impersonate me. If you do a “bad impersonation” of me (sans avatar), I do a “bad, but slightly better” impersonation of you (w/altered avatar). If you do a “better impersonation of me” exact name and avatar) I do an exact impersonation of you at ALL OF YOUR LINKED FRIENDS websites. And if you persist in impersonating me, your friend’s websites become a wasteland of spam and trolls. It pays to know who you are dealing with. Anyone without a blog is, IMO a likely troll. If you have no blog property of your own to defend, you’re much more likely to troll and disrupt other people’s blogs.

  5. You are lucky that Maggie is one alert lady.
    It is safer and more convenient to use a third party private email relay message service that keeps your email private. There are several whose basic service is free. It seems that your son is IT savvy and can find one for you. If not, I will send you the one I use.

  6. Sorry to hear it Jim.

    I’ve pissed off so many people I’m surprised this hasn’t happened to me yet. Probably just a matter of time.

    I know that with Blogger you can go to the persons profile and the date and how many views they have, and that will give you a clue of someone is spoofing someone else’s identity.

  7. Thanks for this heads up. This happened recently to a left leaning blog owner as well. Really crappy stuff. Sorry you went through that. On a tangent, I can think of a couple commenters who act as if they are impersonations; alas, they are real.

  8. I understand this has happened to some Christian bloggers as well. I think that I will have to start paying attention to the IP address as well as the email address and the name people give. I would hate to have to go back to moderating all the comments made on my posts, but I can see that it might be a possibility. I can only hope that people who receive a comment from me will recognize me, if it is someplace that I have never commented, we really are at a disadvantage, I just cannot see most people taking time to check every commentator! God bless you Jim.

  9. Thanks for the info Jim, this is something that I didn’t even think of but it seems real easy to do and we must all stay vigilant and watch out for these types of attacks because they are going to try to divide us before the election.

  10. When my blog was suspended I received a message in my dashboard which provided me with an email link to send any questions to, I did this and before I knew it I was up and running again. I will see if I can find that email address and give it to you. WordPress has a new policy that you must be logged in in order to comment if you have a WordPress blog, is it possible it has something to do with this?

    1. problem solved. I was able to comment finally at you site by reregistering even though it show that I was registered. Apparently when I changed my password, the otherr WordPress site didn’t any longer recognize me, Thanks so much for the offer of the WordPress e-mail- Keep that handy for furture reference, please. 🙂

  11. My blog is not connected to WordPress and I have not had this problem….as yet, that I know of. So sorry you have had this happen. What a pain. I fully believe there are those trying as hard and fast as they can to shut down criticism and dissent of the left. Will stay vigilant. I hope someone would notify me as Maggie did you if this happens to me.

    Of all days. Now that Bernanke has unleashed on us again, I’m sure you will have a lot to say!

  12. Jim, sorry you had to go thru that. I am glad I came here to read what you posted. I think if it is someone you see post regularly, you know what cloth they are cut from and anything out of the ordinary should send up a red flag. Hope you get it all straightened out. There are alot of strange things happening on the internet, lately. Desperate people do desperate things, we need to be on the look out for it.

      1. They are in panic mode, things are not working out as they planned. Is this their plan b? I have to wonder if what is going on at our Embassies and Consulates was not somehow “nudged” by the powers that be? I could be wrong and I hope I am, this would be a low point for this Administration.

      2. I hope you are wrong too, Loo. That would be blatant treason. Here is my take. The Obama/Hillary State Department trined young people in these countries three and four years ago on how to organize protest through social medai with the objectve over throwing their governments. Obama and Hillary own this so-called Arab Spring. Everybody that was paying attention predicted the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and alQaeda in Libya. these recent event were predictable. The Muslims in that part of the world are svage animals but they are smart and devious animals. They know our elections are near. Who do you think they would rather have in the White House? So, I am not surprised that they looked for an excuse to stir up a srious mess at this particular time so that maybe Americans won’t want to change commanders-inChief at this time.

        That’s my opinion, Loo, for what it’s worth.

  13. Jim- What a freakin’ pain in the patooshkie…Idiots with too much time on their hands…They should just stick to porn sites and stay the hell away from our sphere…glad you got so much help in the matter!

    My gmail account as it related to google chrome was hacked [I must have opened a bad email] so that I couldn’t log on to my gmail in chrome…apparently I have some corrupt files that have to be fixed…I just switched [for the time being] over to Firefox and all is ok.

    These creeps need to be prosecuted under some law that lawmakers haven’t written yet…cause they are to busy screwing with our other freedoms…Remember…everything that goes around, comes around!

    PLU from SSF

    1. Don, funny that you mentioned Google Chrome! My computer updated “stuff” like it does sometimes and when I turned it back on, I did not have Internet Explorer, but Google Chrome and alot of my shortcut icons were the Chrome circle. I could not get into any of my shortcuts, as well. Kept saying about the http: not valid or something to that effect. After trying to search anywhere I could, my mouse would not work either, I uninstalled Google Chrome. At that point I had nothing. I finally was able to download Google Chrome ,again. I had no desktop page to go to a website to search, but limped around and found it in a file I had. I wonder what is going on? Is someone messing with the internet? This is the first time I have had this happen. After Google Chrome was reinstalled I had IE again….you tell me what happened!!!

    2. “These creeps need to be prosecuted under some law that lawmakers haven’t written yet…cause they are to busy screwing with our other freedoms…Remember…everything that goes around, comes around!”

      The problem, Don, is that they are cowards and very adept at hiding. We just have to be aware send out the alarm when we suspect something is awry and, of course, we must keep speaking the truth.

  14. Commenters IP address is available with details on your statcounter (or sitemeter.) And my favorite thing about the Disqus comment system is their blocking system using either the email address or the IP – or both.

  15. I may do this a bit different than most. The email address I use for my blog is hidden and I use a contact plugin to relay the message to me. Also, the email address I use to comment on another blog is different than the one I receive my blog email on. So far, I haven’t been spoofed, that I know of.

  16. Jim, I create website for others using WordPress software. One of the things you should never, ever do is have your email address on you web site. Instead, have a contact page where the person interested in corresponding with you can do so without your address. It’s not hard to set up.

    Also, it seems to me that there are probably ways to force people in proving their identities when they comment, like making them register and sign in for each session of commenting. I would not do this because it makes it too hard for people to enjoy your blog, Believe me, you do have an enjoyable blog.

    What’s Spanish for “God Bless You”!

    1. Oh, don’t have your telephone number or any other personal information on your site. That’s a terrible way to do business, but the world is a nasty place.

      1. I think that’s a gotcha. Now, I have to google everything to make sure you aren’t pulling my chain! You can’t trust anybody nowadays. Thanks, LD.

      2. After the last couple of days we have had, I had to do something to get a laugh. Bad week at work, terrible week for our citizens abroad. Something had to give.

      3. Okay! I’m going to be a smart ass here. 😦

        You are not wrong, Larry, but it would more correct to say “Que Dios te bindiga” The word “Que” in this context means “that” and implies that the speaker is “wishing that” or “praying that” or “hoping that” God will bless you. I am self taught in Spanish; but in twenty years I have learned a little. Most of the time I murder my verb tenses because mouth works faster than my brain.

    2. larry suggested the samething. I am going to take your advice. I only recently put my e-mail on my “About” page because someone had been wanting to contact me and didn’t know how. I wasn’t thinking very clearly, was I?

  17. I’ve seen this kind of shenanigans a bunch in the last year. Only during the brief “Top 25 political moms” contest did I see any first hand, but it was disconcerting indeed to see my blog moniker on a hateful comment (which I did not write) on a leftist blogger’s post.

    Kudos to Maggie for thinking to contact you about this. We are now all on watch for strange comments by you or any other conservative blogger. If it seems off, it is probably a fake.

    They are a desperate lot.

    Cheers and hope you have a great weekend.
    Lin

    1. Lin, I am so sorry to hear that you were also a victim of blogger identity theft. It is maddening. These jerks are nothing but cowards. Yeah, Maggie is a gem. I am so grateful that she had the good sense to contact me. Otherwise I would still be in the dark.

  18. Glad to hear it’s all sorted out Bob, there are some really nasty and vile people on the internet. The anonymity of it seems to encourage them to be worse than they really are. Ultimately though, a lot of them are simply cowards and would wet themselves when confronted in public.

    Mind you, some of them have been found to have mental disorders too.

    1. Edge, there is such a thing as using that time to your best advantage, apparently the person or persons that pulled that, never learned how to.

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