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Can Your Character Identity Be Stolen?

I was sitting in a hotel room a couple of months ago when I received the following instant message from a lady I didn’t know:

“Mr. Marshall, I believe you have been hacked. Some creep has been messaging me on Facebook, wanting money. I did an image search and found you, and you don’t seem like the type to do this sort of thing. so I wanted to let you know this was happening.”

After getting a few more messages like this, I looked into it, and it turned out that somebody had copied all my pictures from my profile on Facebook and created a new identity with them.

At first, I was alarmed and wasn’t sure what to do. This seemed like an emergency, but the only emergency training I ever received in school was for tornadoes. So I immediately crawled underneath the desk, tucked my head between my knees, and covered my head with my hands.

When my first-grade teacher didn’t appear and tell me the drill was over, I concluded this was the wrong course of action. I stayed under the desk for another half-hour, though, because it was really cozy. The only thing that would’ve made it better might’ve been a juice box and some animal crackers. You can take the boy out of first grade…

After I resurfaced, I realized getting hacked was one of the most delightful things I’ve had happen to me in years.

Think about it. Some poor schlub in a far-away, third-world country like Pakistan, Nigeria, or Canada (eh!) aspires to make a big score by scamming middle-aged women across the U.S., so he starts looking for a middle-aged guy to use as lady-bait. He scours the Internet looking for the perfect guy who is good-looking, warm, friendly, and — I’m going to say it again, in case you missed it the first time — good-looking, and he chooses my picture! I’m the winner, which is pretty awesome because I haven’t been accused of being any of those things in years.

So he creates a new profile and uploads my picture and waits for truckloads of middle-aged women to start falling all over themselves to hand him money because I’m so darn (have I already mentioned this?) good-looking!

As flattering as it was, I went ahead and notified Facebook, and they acted swiftly to remove the bogus profile.

I have to say, that as much as I like the ego-gratifying implications of this situation, my favorite part of this story is that all of the women contacting me researched me and came to the conclusion that I am a man of character. That means a lot to me because I have made a point of carefully guarding my character.

Your character is really about how you treat people, both professionally and personally. Do people know that you have their best interest at heart? Can they tell that you have their back? Do they trust you to be the same person when you are out of their sight as you are when you are right in front of them?

Who we are online — our image, our profile, our password — all that can be stolen. But our true identity? Nobody can steal that.

© 2018 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally-known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his website at CharlesMarshallSpeaker.com or contact him via e-mail at charles@charlesmarshallspeaker.com.

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