by Karen S. Elliott & Therese Pope
Continued from yesterday’s Part I of How to Protect Your Online Rep from Spammers & Scammers.
The purpose of LinkedIn is to connect with other people in your career field or in complimentary fields. LI requires that “invitations” are sent, and accepted. Your first connections should be carefully considered. Once you establish your first connections, you can branch out by joining groups. LinkedIn is NOT a sales platform and should not be used to blatantly “sell” or advertise products or services – spammy behavior will get you quickly banned.
Connect with LI groups
First, find groups that are specific to your purpose of having a LinkedIn account. Are you a writer? Look for writing-specific groups like publishing, editing, and specific genre sites like horror, children’s books, ebooks, and so on.
If you want to join a specific group based upon your profession/industry, use LinkedIn’s “Search” function and click on “Groups”. For example, if you are a marketer or copywriter, search for keywords such as copywriting, marketing, sales and marketing, advertising, social media marketing, public relations, etc. Make sure to join complimentary groups (people who might need your services). For example, if you are a copywriter and write web copy check out creative groups such as web design, web developers, graphic design, graphic artists, etc.
If you have made a connection with a person and you realize they have become caustic, disconnect. You will still see their posts on group pages. Group administrators are usually good about getting rid of problem members, but if you find the administrator is not reacting, send a personal message to him/her.
Beware of fake profiles/accounts on LinkedIn. Some warning signs: no photo or the photo looks like a stock or fake image, they fill in their profile/summary with repetitive keywords, their profile is blank or not filled in completely, etc.
When sending an invitation, don’t just send the generic template “invitation request.” Include a personal note about yourself and how you can be of assistance to the other person.
How to Report Spam & Abuse/Harassment on LinkedIn
Refer to LinkedIn Help Center for specific questions and topics related to spam and violation of Terms of Service, etc.
Google Profile - Fill out a Google+ Profile and include a photo. A complete Google+ profile helps protect your reputation (especially if you have a common name). When people search for your name, your Google+ profile will pop up with your picture and information. If you have stalking issues, forego the picture. Google+ is fairly easy to navigate, including security and privacy settings.
See Google+ Account Privacy settings, under Account Overview – you can edit visibility. In the upper right corner, the little tools icon (looks like a bumpy wheel). Click that, you’ll get a drop-down, Google+ settings …
How to set up circles - You can also set which users (those in your circles) will see posts. Set circles for family, friends, business associates, etc.
How to get rid of someone in a circle – Click on the circles icon (different colored circles in a button, top middle). Click Remove (right, near the top). Easy peasy. If and when they come back at you, you have the option to Ignore.
Basic safety precautions for adults and your teens
Don’t share too much information on where you live, the hours you work, where your young children or grandchildren go to school, or when you are going on vacation. It would be a really bad idea to announce, “We’re going to Disney World in two weeks!” (this gives the robbers plenty of time to plan).
The worst is happening
You have set all your safety and security parameters, you have protected your profile, you are cautious about who you connect to. And you have some bone-head who won’t leave you alone.
Important step – TELL THEM you want to be left alone - Tell the abuser to stop. Make it clear, keep it simple, i.e. “Do not contact me in any way in the future.” And then DO NOT RESPOND to them after that.
If you feel it’s necessary, contact the page/forum/group and tell them what’s happening, who’s doing the harassing, and so on.
Keep a record of everything – save the posts, tweets, comments in a special file – you may need it if you have to report it to the authorities.
The next step
If you feel you are being abused or targeted or you have actually received threats, contact legal counsel and/or contact authorities.
How to Report Internet Stalking & Crime
“Watchdog” organizations that help prevent cyber bullying & online stalking:
This form allows you to report a cyber stalker to QuitStalkingMe:
For Kids & Parents:
Federal Trade Commission – Fraud & ID theft http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/tech/privacy.shtm
Reporting to authorities, FBI
FBI.gov site - “How to Protect Your Computer” http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/computer_protect
“How to File a Complaint with the IC3” http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
“Prevention Tips” http://www.ic3.gov/preventiontips.aspx#item-9