The Catfishers are pulling out all the stops. I got an email this morning from a victim who was communicating with someone supposedly named Michael Carlos Hughes. Apparently on LinkedIn I am a petroleum geologist at Chevron

screen shot from LinkedIn for Michael Carlos Huges, who has a very handsome face. Mine.
screen shot from LinkedIn for Michael Carlos Huges, who has a very handsome face. Mine.

The woman sent me many photos of me that “Michael” sent her- this one is really insidious, look at the note he sent (I have blurred her name).

I am sorry, but I do not have a wife. And my name is not Michael
I am sorry, but I do not have a wife. And my name is not Michael

I had some trouble finding this photo with Google image search, luckily Keri did

Dear Michael, how do you explain this?

Alan and Gryyzlo
flickr photo shared by cogdogblog under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

The victim started finding this same image on several linked in profiles, doing the google reverse image search, look how many people I am! I am only sharing fraction of the profiles she found that sport my photos on other people’s identities.

Am I Sam? Mohammad? Scott?
Am I Sam? Mohammad? Scott?

What would you do? Would you be happy reporting this as instructed and being told it is not a violation? Would you be happy if in turn the scammers turned the tables and reported your profile?

Unlike @Facebook, Linked in did respond.

But the only recourse these companies who are growing profitable off of your activity is to report profiles.

Why does LinkedIn even allow multiple people to create profiles WITH THE SAME PHOTO? There is image matching technology out there.

Reporting is trying to stop a flood with one stone at a time. The scammers running these are using brute force attacks, weapons of mass profile impersonation.

And Facebook and LinkedIn are not only doing nothing, they are silent.

Meanwhile, I am furiously messaging my short list of influential people, pleading someone with a public voice to take this one. I am pushing out examples. I am not doing any of my work.

I am Alan Levine and my identity has been p0wned. My photos are in some criminal networks file server, being sprayed out like candy as fake profiles.

You could be next.

Share this.

22328418744_5fda857641_z

Teach people how to use reverse image search. If you become friends or romanced by anyone online, stop and investigate them. You are a fool and a potential next victim if you don’t.

Do not let Facebook and LinkedIn keep accruing profit without being accountable for their part in fostering catfishing spawning pools.

Meanwhile, I am keeping a new flickr album updated

catfished

That’s about all I can do, asset my identity.

Because F*** knows that Facebook won’t.


Top / Featured Image credits: flickr photo by cogdogblog http://flickr.com/photos/cogdog/22328418744 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license – my re-edit of my own licensed photo at https://flic.kr/p/62wwE4

The post "I Do Not Know Who I Am Anymore. Neither Does Facebook, LinkedIn." was originally assembled from spare parts of a 1957 Chevy at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2015/11/i-do-not-know-who-i-am/) on November 11, 2015.

10 Comments

  • Sandy

    Love you, Michael! When are you coming home, you ramblin boy?

  • Tom

    They never warn in you in those social media classes that holding up a piece of paper is the kiss of death.

    • Alan Levine aka CogDog cogdogblog.com

      I must have missed class.

      Plus that was like 2009.

    • Vanessa Vaile

      All the organizing campaigns asking supporters to post selfies with messages would make quite a pool. I should send this link next some group asks me for one. Usually I send the taking a selfie while being eaten by an alligator message.

      Anyway, I now post links from the catfished serie to my timeline (where FB cautionary tales are already a staple)

      • Alan Levine aka CogDog cogdogblog.com

        The awareness is that when meeting people first online, no matter how sincere their words and presence how warmly attractive we feel, we must carry around a question “Are they real?” And we need several points of validation; image search, their established presence elsewhere, and who in our trust circles might be able to confirm them. And thus we question ourselves if we start with skepticism, that’s not the heart’s attribute.

        Of course, people did fake personas before the internet, it was just much harder to do.

  • Paul-Olivier Dehaye

    I think this offers a partial answer to the question “Why does Facebook even allow multiple people to create profiles WITH THE SAME PHOTO?”

    It’s not in their immediate interest to stop it, as long as it contributes to others paying for advertisements.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVfHeWTKjag

    Of course this pollutes their profiles, but I bet they could _easily_ remove them all as soon as it becomes a widespread problem (or at least one people are aware of). Not that long ago they purged 9% of Facebook profiles as fake in one swoop.

  • bea ...

    CAUTION … WARNUNG !!!
    With your link :: http://cogdogblog.com/2015/11/11/i-do-not-know-who-i-am/
    to everybody via FACEBOOK
    hope they will share.

    these crimminals oparate worldwide !!!
    attachments :: some opening mails via linkedin with the profilephoto of alan.
    we are victims please TAKE CARE !
    after just a few mails via linkedin they change to viber, than the story goes on with lots of photos from alan, and also a faked video via skype … they create storys to get your money becouse they are in trouble. after paynent the fake will come to you asap …. NEVER SEND MONEY!
    thank’ god i do not lose any money. i ckecked it and by the way i find alan to report him.

    #1 mail

    Michael Carlos Hughes
    Petroleum Geologist at Chevron

    Hi Xxxxx, i am Michael. I believed you are doing good today? hope you don’t mind but i will like to know more about you.

    # 2

    Michael Carlos Hughes
    Petroleum Geologist at Chevron

    Thanks Xxxxxx for your kind respond, i am unable to find you on Facebook. its such a wonderful opportunity to meet such a beautiful lady like you here. its my pleasure.Talking about myself, i am Michael Carlos Hughes from United States,a Petroleum Geologist at Chevron Company. I am writing to let you know how eager i am to keep communicating and get to know you better.. you look gorgeous and natural, i don’t know how lovely you might be in attitude but i was really captivated by your good looks. hope you are doing good?

    #3

    Michael Carlos Hughes
    Petroleum Geologist at Chevron

    Once again thank You Xxxxxxx, You impress me to write more,I am happy to read from you again. i found you here on LinkedIn when i was in search for a friend. i believe it was God sent seeing you here,Talking about myself,as said earlier i am Michael, I lives in LA,California and we be happy to be together with you someday showing you around Cali and others. .I believe it is important to be true to oneself and to others, i will like to keep communicating with you,I want you to know that you have been part of my thoughts, Though miles may lie between us, we’re never far apart, for friendship doesn’t count the miles, it’s measured by the heart.i can go any length to achieve that, no matter the age, distance its not an obstacle to me, all i need is a sincere, loving and caring woman in my heart. Sorry to say,for me you are extremely beautiful, a pretty damsel and not noticing you would be totally not right. i keep staring at your angelic picture over and over again. No doubt you looks absolutely gorgeous..again I am so honor by your response, i long to be close to you, getting to know you more would be the best thing to ever happen to my life. i hope you are having a good time

    #4

    Michael Carlos Hughes
    Petroleum Geologist at Chevron

    Once again thank You xxxxx, You impress me to write more,I am happy to read from you again. i found you here on LinkedIn when i was in search for a friend. i believe it was God sent seeing you here,Talking about myself,as said earlier i am Michael, I lives in LA,California and we be happy to be together with you someday showing you around Cali and others. .I believe it is important to be true to oneself and to others, i will like to keep communicating with you,I want you to know that you have been part of my thoughts, Though miles may lie between us, we’re never far apart, for friendship doesn’t count the miles, it’s measured by the heart.i can go any length to achieve that, no matter the age, distance its not an obstacle to me, all i need is a sincere, loving and caring woman in my heart. Sorry to say,for me you are extremely beautiful, a pretty damsel and not noticing you would be totally not right. i keep staring at your angelic picture over and over again. No doubt you looks absolutely gorgeous..again I am so honor by your response, i long to be close to you, getting to know you more would be the best thing to ever happen to my life. i hope you are having a good time

    #5

    Michael Carlos Hughes
    Petroleum Geologist at Chevron

    Beate,You inspire me to write every time and again thank you for your care always. i am age 51 and my son 15. There is so much more we had to say,I know I will see you someday But my life is just started to begin. I want to see your eyes looking at me With the feelings i have for you, tells me how much you ready to keep up this wonderful communication with me, i pray this leads into something much more better than just friendship. this i believe. Be aware that there is a person likable and interesting, which is also not indifferent to you, feeling as if was back in my youth and again want to talk about and do things without thinking of their consequences, I did not expect to be able to meet again someone who can inspire me. I’m happy we met. Occasionally happens in life, if you are very lucky, in the most difficult moment, you meet a Woman who saves your soul. Makes your heart beat again and laugh through the tears. And you know, nothing brings so much joy as communication with that person. It does not matter that between you, friendship or more..the main thing that you live again..You live for someone who needed. I think the greatest happiness that fate introduced me to you. Great soul is never alone. As fate would have neither takes away from his friends, he eventually always create them yourself. In life, it turns out, nothing is accidental. Maybe our meeting was not accidental..Yes, i rightly pointed out, I am open and honest person and I expect the same. I’ll keep on dreaming of the day, i can see you in person, hear the sound of your voice. you mean a lot to me. i am a man of solid faith with great ability to carry out experiments in life,i believe in the law of Karma,Love,attraction. the only that keeps me going in life is the love i have inside of me to share to whom forfeit it, a woman of substance that i can love unconditionally for the rest of my life..You sounds very honest and lovely with me from the start,you are so open with me like we’ve known each other before now. You possess the good qualities that i have always wanted in a soul mate. You may not be here with me..But thoughts of you are always in my heart.your Angelic look, great sense of humor and kind response all becoming part of me. Sometimes,i miss the love and care of a soul mate so much that it makes me cry. I think of you and the way you make me feel…I am falling now but I’ve got to hold on, this is strange to me because i have never felt this way before. I want you know what’s running through my head but for now I’ll just keep it to myself instead. hope you are having a good night rest? yes,your country is ahead of Mine as its 6:53PM here. think i get on dinner. I am sorry if i scare you away from me with what i wrote but its the feelings inside of me,that are locked away waiting to be free,drowning my heart in misery But you’ve given me hope and that I’ll never let you go. In my heart you will forever lay Hopefully, soon i won’t have to hate missing you cause I’ll always be by your side my beautiful Xxxxxx. I’ll be more than just a lover,I’ll be your guide. My heart will always carry you with tender loving care.I’d do anything for you and you’ll never have to be alone.i cherish you so much xxxxxx. Feel myself like Josefina which was loved by Napoleon Bonaparte,I hope you are smiling now. Embrace and kiss. So Long
    !!!!!!!!!

    Not so keen on responding on open forum here. Perhaps u can add me up with this +1 213-640(2877) on Viber Mobile Application wish is bit more convenient and easy because i deleted my Whats-app long ago and finding it difficult to get in back on my phone. Don’t know rules here as rarely on this site. Well gotta go for the day.

    than the story goes on! take care!!!

    • Alan Levine aka CogDog cogdogblog.com

      Thanks Bea, for contacting me initially with the photos of fake Michael, and also sharing the messaging and the process.

      The part about moving off of a public space to viber or WhatsApp means that it goes to a grey area (and the part where they fake videos via Skype is disturbing).

      I am glad you were skeptical and started investigating; this is the best thing people can do is to learn how to see through these ruses.

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