How to protect your online rep from spammers & scammers, Part II, 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:

Government organizations:

Federal Trade Commission – Fraud & ID theft

Reporting to authorities, FBI

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

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

  1. Thanks so much. You have dome many a great service.

  2. Thanks Yvonne and thanks so much for your tweets! We appreciate the support.

  3. Even though the subject matter was a little uncomfortable (why should any of us have to worry about this?), it was great working with Therese. We are happy to share the pointers and links.

  4. Karen, you are a true jewel. By contrast, I can’t even keep my wood pulp tiara straight on my head! (wear it anyway, of course.) This info, SADLY necessary, is of the ‘Primo Must-Have’ variety and I am in your debt (hang out there a lot) for you generous, typically caring and solid provision.
    Later, Lorane Leavy. . . .

  5. I have been very lucky so far with social networking – *fingers crossed* but these tips are now filed away for a future reference I hope I won’t need!

  6. I’ve been lucky so far, too. Just that one old friend who wasn’t really a friend and who is now blocked.

  7. Such excellent information! Although I haven’t had an creepy-creeper issues on my social networks, I wouldn’t be so erroneously content as to believe that makes me forever immune. Much appreciation for such a thorough and super valuable post!

  8. Ladies, Another great post. I have invites waiting in Linked In, but never check it. I really should square that away. I understand it better from this post. I saw a Social Media person mention once that she had an “Ignore” circle. I get requests from people I don’t know, so I just hit the ignore button and forget about them.

  9. I still have trouble sometimes getting my head around LI. I don’t spend that much time there, but I’m a few groups now that are pretty good.

  10. For authors and writers, Facebook is the best place to hang out and LinkedIn has its place as well (especially if you are trying to make publishing and editorial connections). There are some excellent groups on LinkedIn, as Karen mentioned. If anyone has more specific questions about LinkedIn, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I’ve found some amazing business partners and collaborators through LinkedIn.

    Karen and I shared these tips as preventative measures. I’ve dealt with my share of nasty, rude people on social media, and what it comes down to is that people think they can hide behind a screen and be “anonymous”. Unfortunately, that tactic comes back to haunt them. People have been fired and their reputations damaged as a result of their inappropriate and unprofessional comments.

    Check out my blog – I have past articles on there that tackle online reputation management topics. The worst story I heard was a PR executive who lost a huge account with FedEx because he criticized their headquarters in the south and made mean “close-minded” comments about the south. Not only did the PR exec lose his job but the President of FedEx had a few choice words to “tweet” back to him AND he lost a huge million dollar account for his agency. Double whammy. You would think a PR exec would know better. Hmmm.

    My motto is if you wouldn’t say it to your Mom, then don’t post it on your social media.

    Thanks for everyone’s support and feedback. Great dialogue and sharing!

  11. I so agree on the “Mom” comment. Even though my Mom isn’t around any longer, I still hear her voice in my head. And no, I’m not perfect, but I do hear her approval or her ‘tsk-tsk’ when I’m writing, blogging, FBing. I like to think that we’re all in it to win it, but it doesn’t mean you have to put other people down in the process. Yes, PR people should know better! Once it’s on the web, it’s there forever.

  12. I’m not perfect either, but I try to be respectful of other people’s opinions (even if I disagree). It’s when people start bashing each other that I have problems (like the writer who bashed my author friend’s book on MY Facebook wall – very unprofessional). It comes down to “do unto others as you would do unto yourself.”

  13. Great information, Karen and Therese. It’s the kind of info you hope you’ll never need, but by paying attention, we’ll certainly reduce our risk. You did a good job, too, of conveying that the different social media platforms have different characteristics.

    I almost never accept a LinkedIn invitation unless the person has told me why they want to connect or how our paths have crossed. Correlary: when you invite someone to join your Linkedin network, always customize the message and remind them if you’re in a group or organization together.

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