How to protect your online rep from spammers & scammers, Part I, by Karen S. Elliott & Therese Pope

From Karen –

I had an old “friend” contact me via FB. I remembered as soon as I saw her name why I stopped being friends with her. I did not want to connect with her and told her so. She came back with an abusive email (ah, the memories) about what a lousy friend I had been, about all the favors she’d done for me in the past, etc. Made me wonder, “If I was such a lousy friend, why did she want to renew contact?” I blocked her. Problem solved.

From Therese –

I had a client who had a stalker on Facebook that escalated into a harassing situation. The stalker sent my client’s editor a crazed message about him, and claimed he was a fraud, etc. She went on a rampage and proceeded to stalk him on other article sites and left nasty comments. Stalker-lady then left disparaging comments and attacked me and my company on an article site. The client and I took action immediately and contacted the site’s editor. I received a personal phone call from the editor, and they assured me they would not tolerate stalkers who attack their writers. Stalker-lady was banned as a result of the action we took.

How to Protect Your Computer

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin. Wise words and he didn’t have social networking.

We should all have spyware, web protection, virus protection, etc. installed on our computers. If you don’t have virus software installed, check out the following anti-virus software: McAfee, Avast, AVG, etc.


At this point, all email programs have automatic spam filters. You can also set additional parameters for blocking odd emails. Mark incoming mail “spam” if it looks suspect or block specific email addresses. Best bet – don’t open any email if you do not recognize the address. And for goodness sake, don’t open attachments from anyone you don’t know!

Your social networking


It’s best to set up parameters when you first start your page, however most of us just started a FB page and floundered through.

From Karen: My son was going to Iraq and he wanted me to join FB, so I did. I didn’t investigate anything, I just started a page.

From Therese: I originally joined Facebook because I have siblings in the military and they were stationed all over the country and world, and it is easier to keep in touch via Facebook updates.

As we all know, Facebook changes applications without consulting any of us billions of users, so check your security periodically.

Maintain a modicum of privacy on your Facebook profile. Allow little to show except basic information until you are friends with someone. Don’t “accept friend request” without knowing who that person is, how or why they are approaching you, or what their intent is.

How to create privacy settings for new Timeline:

Go to Privacy Settings > How Tags Work and change the settings for “Maximum Timeline Visibility” from “Public” to “Friends.”

If you’re super-intense, you can change those settings to “Custom” and choose “Only Me” — then you’ll be the only one who can see the posts.

Limit your past posts — which may have been made public at the time — to Friends only. To do this, go to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts” and click “Manage Past Post Visibility,” then “Limit Old Posts.” This will change all past posts to Friends-only, even if you initially made them public.

Facebook Timeline Privacy Tips –

From the Facebook Security pages: “Once you block someone, that person can no longer be your friend on Facebook or interact with you (except within apps and games you both use and groups you are both a member of).”

Reporting abuse or policy violations –


Watch for comments @your-name-here. You can set Twitter parameters so that everything with @your-name-here is delivered to your email (if email is the first thing you check, this might be helpful).

If you realize a tweeter has a problem with you or the comments escalate, consider “Report a Violation” under Help Center Guidelines and Best Practices, Safety Center, Reporting Violations. Then block, unfollow, protect.

How to block users on Twitter –

WordPress Blog  

Handling and reporting abuse –

Set safety parameters on your Dashboard, along the left side list of options, go down to Settings, Discussion, and it will take you to page that says Discussion Settings. Set parameters as you see fit.

Dashboard drop-down menu under the Blog Tab – Manage Comments – you’ll see Unapprove | Reply | Quick Edit | Edit | History | Spam | Trash. Pick whatever response is necessary to manage individual comments made on your blog.

You can also delete troll comments. Go to Dashboard, Comments. When the comments list pops up, click the little box to the left of the commenter’s icon. Under Bulk Actions – Unapprove, Mark as Spam, or Move to Trash; then Apply.

Blogger (Blogspot)

After logging into your Blogger account, go to the Settings | Posts and comments tab. Under the Comments settings, choose accordingly. If you want to moderate comments that people leave on your blog: under “Comment Moderation?” click on “Always”. You will receive an “Awaiting Moderation” message. You will then need to review and manually approve comments. If you receive spam comments, you can report them as “spam” and pesky spammers will be blocked from leaving comments on your blog.

According to Blogger (run by Google):

“Here are some examples of content we will not remove unless provided with a court order:

  • Personal      attacks or alleged defamation
  • Parody      or satire of individuals
  • Distasteful      imagery or language
  • Political      or social commentary”

For more helpful tips on how to report abuse, check out Blogger’s Support Section.


Stay tuned – tomorrow Therese and I will post Part II which includes LinkedIn and Google+. We will also share loads of websites and information on what to do and who to contact if you think you are being targeted or stalked.


Therese Pope

About Therese Pope, Zenful Communications

Therese Pope is a digital media buzz-icist, copywriter and owner of Zenful Communications, a boutique marketing communications company in northern California. She helps small businesses and book authors create a positive online buzz around their brands. Her specialty areas include: buzz marketing/social media campaigns, content marketing, and online reputation management. She frequently contributes online reputation tips for The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and Carol Roth’s Business Unplugged™ blog.

Check out Therese’s blog for more helpful online marketing and publicity information.  Connect with her on Facebook or LinkedIn.


Opening photo – FllmeNoiNoi via Photobucket.



Filed under Blogging, Branding & Platform, Social Networking

19 responses to “How to protect your online rep from spammers & scammers, Part I, by Karen S. Elliott & Therese Pope

  1. Karen and Therese – this is great, and much needed! I am super careful but it was good to just go and check on my facebook/blog settings in case something had been changed without my knowledge.
    Thanks for posting. Excellent!

  2. Thanks for reminding me–it’s been a while since I’ve checked my security.

  3. Good to know information,Therese.

  4. Lots of very useful info, thank you!

  5. Thanks, all! More info coming tomorrow, too!

  6. Thank you for these important tips on staying safe on the Internet!

  7. I appreciate everyone’s comments on our collaborative effort. Karen and I are a on mission to spread the word about online identity and safety. It’s important to Google your name and company/brand on a regular basis. You never know what’s floating around in the cyber ethers. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow – we delve into more social media “online rep” tips and will share LOTS of resources to guide you in the right direction. Hopefully, no one will ever have to deal with a stalker situation online, but it helps to have some background information (just to be aware). Thanks!

  8. Great information coherently laid out. Thank you.

  9. Karen and Therese – I love this. It’s a great reminder that we need to be careful. So far on Twitter, I just block those ladies who say “I’m real” in their bio! Yikes. As a result of a follower’s RT of my Tweet, I found myself tweeting with a person who seemed to want to pick a fight with me. I tried to address it and fortunately I found a point I could agree with him and let it go. My husband said I should have followed the advice I gave him once about online conversations: “It’s OK to walk away.” 🙂 I did away with the Blogger Captcha and am impressed by the spam caught through the filter. I’m glad I did it. (Oh, sorry got a bit chatty).

  10. We love chit-chatters! Yes, I’ve walked away from some people, unfriended, unfollowed. Too bad all the fight-pickers can’t get together and start their own site!

  11. This is such a valuable post, and yet, how pitiful sad that we really do need to know all of this. I’ve always been a proceed-with-caution sort of girl, but it doesn’t keep me from being burnt, if only because caution doesn’t necessarily trump the devious nature of internet meanies.

    Really like the Dynamic Duo collaboration, Karen & Therese!

  12. Pingback: How to protect your online rep from spammers & scammers, Part II, by Karen S. Elliott & Therese Pope | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

  13. Oh, Dynamic Duo…Karen, I like that term and it fits us! 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments. Love the positive dialogue and love collaborating with Karen. I’m sure we will collaborate on more blog posts down the road.

    I have dealt with nasty situations both on LinkedIn and Facebook. Stacy, your husband is right. Sometimes we just need to pick our battles and walk away from the situation. Not to mention, it’s a waste of your time and energy that could be spent writing/working. Best of luck to you all, and if you have further questions about how to protect your online rep you know where to find us!

  14. Thanks – information we all need and need to be reminded of! Bookmarked!

  15. Thanks DiAnne. We appreciate everyone’s support and thanks for sharing with others!

  16. Thank you both for an informative and helpful Blog post. Sometimes it’s hard for ‘newbies’ to work their way round and through some of the minefields out there. The only thing I found was difficult was Facebook as they are not good at acting against abuse or fraud or anything else for that matter and they are notoriously difficult to get hold of. Everything else is straightforward thanks to the help and guidance you”ve offered.

  17. Glad you found it helpful, David!

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