Bloggers: Protect Yourself

As bloggers, we need to be aware that everything we write on here can be read by ANYONE. Just as you would be careful as to not say something stupid at work or school, or write something incriminating at work or school, likewise you should do the same with your blog. There are also predators on blogs. Ever watch that To Catch a Predator show? Yeah, well they don’t just hang out on chat rooms looking for 14 year old girls. They move about the Internet and will prey on your medical information, credit history, social security information, and other random things they can use – even your IDENTITY. Remember to stay anonymous. Here follows some tips:

1) Anonymity. Unless you wrote a book that has your name attached to it, go by a pen name. Ok? If you wish to correspond with people outside your blog via email, that is your wish. But never, ever, give your name away on your blog. First names are fine.

2) Never ever give out your address or phone number to people you don’t know. If you want to exchange them with a fellow blogger whom you’ve emailed several times and feel comfortable with, do so at your own risk. But I have actually come across blogs that display this information RIGHT ON THE BLOG! SCARY!!!! Just give them your Visa number while your at it, why don’t ya!

3) Change your blogs password frequently, that will make it less likely to get hacked.

4) Never EVER give out personal information to someone who claims to be a doctor offering medical help. If you wish to seek a second opinion via the Internet there are several sites that will charge a fee and that offer security for your credit card (meaning you enter your credit card and your know it’s not going to some kid in California who’s using it to buy a Jet Ski). Oh, yeah, and you get real medical advice for your buck. 🙂

5) If your blog offers a  CAPTCHA option (the box commentors must type the letters and numbers they see before leaving a comment) make sure this is installed. Likewise, turn your comment moderator ON. If you notice a comment from a spammer or a comment heavy with links or links that look suspicious – DELETE it. Virus makers are now targeting social networkers and leaving comments on blogs, Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, etc., that link to a program that will automatically load their virus or malware onto the system of whomever clicks the link. Protect yourself and your readers and click DELETE.

We as bloggers must be careful and take steps to protect ourselves and each other. Let’s keep out blogs safe for our readers!

For more information on why we should protect ourselves please read:

Jeanne’s Endo Blog: “Warning to the Endometriosis Community Regarding Dr. Gregory Smith”

Endometriosis: Facing the Battle Head On – “Warning to the Endometrios Community Regarding: Dr. Gregory Smith”

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4 responses to “Bloggers: Protect Yourself

  1. Endochick,
    I just posted this {see below} on Facebook (as a reply to numerous comments from concerned women on the “Endometriosis Sisters” group there) and linked back to your excellent post…
    Thank you again!
    Jeanne

    —————————————————————————

    “Ladies,

    “Endochick” did a great, comprehensive post today about protecting yourself online (not just for endo patients)…

    I highly recommend it:

    https://endochick.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/bloggers-protect-yourself/

    I have been encouraging other bloggers to publicize this problem. If we link to each other’s blog posts as we post warnings, it will boost Google rankings. This will generate more visibility for the “Dr. Gregory Smith” warning posts.

    I absolutely agree that this is most likely a false name. It could be a man, a woman, a young person, an old person. We just don’t know!

    *** We only know what this person chooses to tell us ***

    We have to protect ourselves.

    In my mind, it makes no difference if this is a “doctor” or not. What has been happening is clearly inappropriate. NO ONE should be asking for the info this person is asking for.

    It’s actually even scarier if it were to be a doctor. As an example, the city I used to live in had a GYN arrested for sexually abusing patients in his office. People tend to go where there is easy access… physically or online.

    This world can be dangerous so we need to be careful.

    Jeanne

    P.S. I have tried to be careful from the day I started blogging — but this story has reminded me just how careful I must be. Stay vigilant, ladies…”

  2. Endochick,
    I just updated my blog post on this issue — so that it will now link back to your blog post on it.
    Thanks again for the terrific tips!

    ———
    Endo bloggers (and any other bloggers who wish to help protect patients!),

    The more effectively we cross-link on these “warning blog posts”, the higher these stories regarding “Dr. Gregory Smith” will show on Google. The higher the Google ranking, the more patients we will be able to warn!
    ———

    Thanks!
    Jeanne

  3. Hi Endochick,

    Thanks so much for posting these tips for others. I have linked to our latest post on my blog in regards to this individual.

    I would have to agree, unless you are planning on writing a book or professionally using what you are doing in the future (such as applying for related jobs, etc) than there is really no reason to use your full name. I am quite thrilled with what I do and use my name because of my professional basis that gives me further credit for what I do. As a social worker with endo, I not only share my personal experience but I tend to write a lot on mental health issues (depression, anxiety, etc) that all too often go hand-in-hand with having a chronic illness. I also write a lot on coping with all aspects of illness.

    I am looking into a career change, possibly going into more of a patient advocacy/health social work role so this is where it is important for me to be able to professionally use what I do to support why I am more-than-qualified for any such role. I’m sure that it also helps others to know that I hold degrees in psychology and social work and am not just someone who is talking off the “top of their head” which I’ve seen as a response to some of other ladies within support groups out there. (Man I hope this makes sense, lack of sleep and pain is catching up with me!)

    In any case, I just wanted to say thank you so much. It’s important to have faith that there are people out there who really have an honest desire to help, but at the same time it’s hard to know exactly who is real and who is not.

    Take care,
    Melissa Ralston, BA, BSW, RSW

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