Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks


Thursday 9 July 2015

Identity Theft; Fraud In The Blogging Community

Hello hello! Today I wanted to do a really quick little post just to bring something to your attention, this isn't something I ever thought I'd be writing or something I ever wanted to write - in fact, naive little me didn't even really know this was possible but I would really appreciate it if you could share this post to help others because this should not be happening. As most of you will know if you follow EmTalks, I have been writing this blog for 3 years, it is my baby, my biggest passion and it truly is my life. I pride myself on working hard and being honest. Naturally then when I got two emails this week from brands saying someone was pretending to be me in order to get money/free samples, I freaked out... not cool, not cool at all... let's discuss in the hopes that it will help people and prevent this from happening.

Earlier this week I received a few tweets to say that some jam was on its way to me after 'my request' - I tweeted back and said I hadn't requested any jam (when have I ever featured jam on my blog anyway?!)... I didn't think anything of it and was told there was a mix up. A few days later, I received another email from a brand who had told me they were sending some skin care samples out to me after 'my request' - I didn't remember ever asking for these, luckily, this brand had forwarded me an email and I could see that someone had filled out a form on a blogging platform (a site where you can sign up for blogging samples, note, I have never used this blogging platform and don't even have an account) and used all my information on the form in order to get free samples sent to her address - promising to review them on EmTalks (obviously she isn't me so she isn't going to review them). Luckily, because this form was forwarded to me, I was able to find the fraudsters home address - i.e., where samples are getting posted to (I have no idea how many brands this person has emailed and how many people have fallen for it - she's probably sat laughing away surrounded with jam but hopefully not). She/he/it (let's just say a sad little fraudster) is using the email address '[email protected]' - and god knows how many other bloggers this person has done it to actually, and emailing brands pretending to be me basically (how very sad) just in order to get a few freebies (even asking some brands for payment). See the form below (I have cut off the persons home address to save them the embarrassment but they did leave their address to get their samples delivered to). 

As you can see, this person is pretending to be me by using my social media links, a fake email address which is kind of similar to mine. 

As most of you will know, this is not my email address, my email address is [email protected] and unless an email is sent from there, it is not me. I have had to tweet this so many times (and probably annoy all my followers) this week.  I have had to contact the police and the fraud protection about this identity theft, not only is this person using my name, my hard work and my social channels and then sat at home getting freebies (which may I add, as a full time blogger I do not see samples as freebies, I see it as my job and I am always 100% honest) she is not only making a mockery of myself and the hard work I've done to get to a stage where I am fortunate enough to work with brands (if brands do send her things, they'll wonder why I haven't written about them), she is also mocking brands, who work with bloggers to create strong relationships and honest reviews. This fraudster is also creating mistrust in the community. 

I needed to quickly write about this so that 1. People can see this is not okay. 2. People can see this really is an issue and will be taken further. 3. Brands can take extra steps, to protect themselves, for example, just check that the email address is the same as the email address on the blog/said persons social channels - anyone smart enough will have seen that my email address IS NOT [email protected]

Some more evidence sent from the fake '[email protected]'; 

Hopefully, anyone would be able to tell that the above is not from me - one quick check of my Instagram, blog, Twitter will tell you that my email address is in fact [email protected] - so where do we go from here? I wanted to make people aware that this is going on - I have had a few tweets from other bloggers to say that this has happened to them before, I am just hoping that people do the necessary checks, if someone does email you, just check that the email address matches up to the email address on the persons blog, it's really that simple.This isn't the first time this has happened to me, I've had numerous Facebook/Twitter accounts made using my photo which doesn't really bother me as people know it isn't me. This is what happens on the internet, we put ourselves out there. I have had to speak to the police before about an incident where someone pretended to be members of my family on a dating site. The police do take identity theft seriously, it is not worth it so seriously, don't do it and if it happens to you, report it. I really didn't want to have to rant about this today but I think it's an important topic and when someone is trying to blag 'freebies' and make me look bad to brands and companies, I am not having it. I just wanted to make people aware of this, let's prevent these sad people from doing this again.
*On a side note, I also recently got my bank card copied, I never ever put my card in any dodgy machines but someone had tried to buy a holiday to Miami with my card in Gatwick airport. Luckily my bank notified me. I asked for advice and they said that even if you're really careful, it can still happen. This freaked me out so much but you can get your card cloned pretty much anywhere so make sure you check your bank statements and look for dodgy transactions. 

If you have been a victim of identity theft/fraud, you can report it online to the police here; http://www.actionfraud.police.uk
Thank you so much for reading and apologies for such a deep blog post on a Thursday afternoon.

Lots of love, Em x

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