Yep, all the things I thought I could keep hidden from the world are now circulating around the internet sky like one of those airplanes at the beach that pulls a banner behind it for all to see. And it will never run out of gas, because we all know the internet is FOREVER!
I was on the phone with my mom and suddenly saw this tweet incoming on my iphone:
“Bad blog going around about you, have you read it yet?”
“Um, Mom, I think I need to handle something right now. Call you back later.” In fewer than 140 characters, I felt my reputation dangling from a thread on the world wide web. What was someone saying about me? Could it really be THAT bad that someone would need to alert me about it on a Saturday night?
I am usually not a sucker for an identity theft scam, but man, it’s easy to fall for a line like “bad blog post about you”. It preys on our fears, just like all the other scams online and off. I know I have flaws–and big ones at that! I just don’t need them announced in such a public and unstoppable way.
It’s embarrassing, but yes, I clicked. I was redirected to a Twitter login page. Wait! That’s not a Twitter login page. (Always look at the URL box before re-entering your account info!) It’s a plague on the internet, otherwise known as a phishing scam. GRRR!
If you received one of these emails from me or someone else, I am here to save some face and tell you exactly what you need to do to stop the madness.
If you clicked, you tipped the next domino. Check your Message Tab on Twitter and you will see to whom you unknowing sent the alert that a bad blog was circulating about them, waking up their self consciousness demons, causing them to click and sending the message to their friends, triggering more demonoes…ad infinitum. Your Twitter account will automatically send the message to 250 people on your list. Good thing there are limits for private messages on Twitter or else the phishing mafia would have sent to your entire list. Not a huge deal, but if you did click, like I did, now you look a little foolish.
Kind of ironic, isn’t it? If I didn’t care so much what people might be saying about me, I wouldn’t have been tempted to click and 250 people wouldn’t be questioning my internet judgement. By simply deleting and not being concerned, the whole mess could have gone away.
I hope no one went any further than that. If you did input your Twitter account and password on that page that opened up, you may have just lost your Twitter account to some jerk who thinks this whole situation is really funny.
Here’s how you can remedy the situation, both socially and technically:
1. Change your password.
Even if you didn’t input your password on the imposter Twitter page, it’s a good idea to change it periodically. Make sure your password includes letters, numbers and punctuation. Best if it does not spell anything.
2. Change any other similar passwords online.
When it comes to passwords we do lack creativity, don’t we? If you use the same password all over the internet, well, um, I am worried for you buddy. Not a good strategy. Make them different and quickly, especially if they are the same as the compromised one.
3. Revoke access to third parties.
In your Twitter account, click your Twitter name in the upper right corner. Then click “Settings” and go to the “Applications” tab. Revoke access to anyone you don’t know.
4. Admit your gullibility, and fast.
Cover your bases and message all of your social networks. I heard from people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and from private emails asking me if they should click the link. Others may not think to contact you first.
The sooner you can let people know about your little break from online mental clarity, the more hassle you can save them. If you don’t you may find yourself losing friends quickly. I mean, you don’t want someone circulating a bad blog post about you, do you?
I am glad I caught this early and was able to do something about it. Humble pie apologies to all of you who were inconvenienced. I do hope this blog post can be a useful tool to undo any harm you’ve caused in your own little Twittersphere.
In the meantime my mom thought there was a real emergency and called my honey, Todd. He rushed home and opened the door “Are you okay?”
Sheepish smile, “Yeah.”
Let me know below if you’ve ever been hit with a scam like this. Did you fall for it? I’m a sucker, right?
© 2011 – 2012, Karrie Kohlhaas. All rights reserved.