Are we really who we say we are online?

Tattooed Mummy wrote an interesting blog post about deceiving people online.

Wer all heard about the Nigerian Prince who allegedly needs to  transfer large sums of money out of the country. He says that he wants to transfer $20 million to the recipient’s bank account – money that was budgeted but never spent. In exchange for transferring the funds out of Nigeria, the recipient will get to keep 30% of the total. To get the process started, the scammer asks for bank account numbers, and other personal information.

But there’s so much more going on. Little white lies, bigger lies that people make up to get attention. So many stories about people stealing photo’s in order to make up their own story with it.

The story I remember most is the one I was involved in as a moderator on a Sims 2 fan site.

There was a girl who was fairly active in this community. She made lots of goodies that were uploaded to the site I was a mod at. She came into the chatroom and she was very pleasant. Suddenly, she went MIA. People asked about her, sent her DM’s, trying to see what was going on.
A couple of weeks later her account became active again. “She” opened a thread saying she was her brother. The girl had allegedly committed suicide and her brother found a word document on her laptop with passwords and notes about what she wanted after something happened to her.
At first we believed the story. But something was off. The brother gave information and some of us tried to find out more. They then discovered nothing. Nothing at all about his sister or even a suicide or anything. He went on to say he didn’t live at home and more. But when we looked at the IP address it matched that of his sister.

Then things got nasty. People were accusing him/her of lying. Some even found out his real name and discovered he never had a sister. The boy (who was 14) made everything up. Why is still a mystery. Maybe it was because he wanted attention. I don’t know.

But the thing is. The next time I saw someone post, saying they were on someone elses account, I was very suspicious.
This was a story of a girl who was also fairly active on this site. She had posted earlier she wasn’t feeling very well, but when she suddenly went quiet we had no idea what happened to her. Fast forward a couple of weeks and someone saying she was the girls mom posted she had died. At first many people were quite hostile towards her, but this turned out to actually be true. I don’t remember what happened exactly, but I think one of the mods stepped in quite early on and rescues the mother from being slandered.

I felt sorry for the mom and her other daughter for having to go through all of this. The mother wanted to do the right thing by letting people know what happened to her daughter. And instead of people helping her they got hostile towards her. But I can understand why. Many people thought it might be a scam or an impersonator. But this was true. They grieved about their daughter and sister.

Not all people are who they claim they are. But many of us actually are. Remember that. Treat stories about illness, death and other people’s lives with caution, but don’t think everyone is lying. Many of us are generally who we say we are.

lying online

2 Replies to “Are we really who we say we are online?”

    1. I, too, have encountered a few fakes. But that doesn’t in any way weigh up to the amount of nice people I’ve discovered. So many people I’d be happy to call my friends if they lived any closer 🙂

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