Who’s Stealing Your Identity on Twitter?

28 Jul

It appeared in my Twitter stream as a note from a friend, seductively beckoning:

“Want to know whos stalking you on twitter!?: Click here, stupid.”

Only, of course, it didn’t say “Click here, stupid.” Because I wouldn’t fall for that. Instead, it linked to a site called Twitviewer, promising to show you the last 200 people who had looked at your Twitter profile.

Now, the missing apostrophe in “whos” should have been RED FLAG #1 that this was not a well-run business model.

But, no, I blithely clicked on.

Then, ignored RED FLAG #2 when the site said “enter twitter ID and password.”

Now, some legitimate applications need that information. Tweetie, Tweetdeck, Tweepular. But they also explain to you why they need your password, what they will do with it, how they will store it, etc.

This “stalker” site had none of that. What it did have? The appeal to everyone’s inner middle-schooler. The “I know who likes you,” pitch. So I entered my information, and ignored RED FLAG #3 – No disclaimer about how they protect your information.

After all, it was worth the risk to see who was stalking me. Maybe @JohnMayer? Maybe @Oprah? Maybe @BarackObama? Who could want to see what I was up to on Twitter?

Of course, the answer was 200 boob-flashing wanna-be porn stars that I could add to my “following” list with just one click.

Sigh. I’m such a moron sometimes.

Of course, when I logged back into my Twitter account, I learned to no surprise that the Twitviewer site had used my provided password to tweet out my suggestion that all my friends visit its site, too. Awesome.

So if you went there, stop reading this post about my stupidity and go change your Twitter password before you find yourself unwittingly sending out spam all the live-long day. I’m sorry. If you didn’t go there, write down the three red flags I should have seen that would have saved me a lot of headaches today.

  1. If they can’t even spell their marketing pitch, they may not be concerned with other details. Like ethics. Or your privacy.
  2. If they ask for your password, be darn sure you know why they want it.
  3. If they have no posted privacy policy, it’s probably because they are stealing your identity.

Don’t be a moron like me. Thanks.

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10 Responses to “Who’s Stealing Your Identity on Twitter?”

  1. Derrich July 28, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    I fell victim to the lure of this “service” as well! I would suggest that people change their Twitter password immediately to help prevent the possibility phishing. Well…that’s what I did anyway.

  2. CarolAnn July 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    Most-excellent post! TY! Will RT! 🙂

  3. Elle July 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    Boob flashing? Maybe it should have been called Tit-viewer. 😉

  4. Kami Lewis Levin July 28, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    Isn’t Twitter all about being popular? I’d fall for that shit in a minute. Like the time I fell for the response to my craigslist ad (“buy my digital video camera, I just got a newer, better one from my grandpa”) and sent the damn camera via Fedex. To Nigeria. And then waited for the paypal messenger to arrive at my apartment with a check. FYI: paypal doesn’t use messengers. Nor do they conduct any business in Nigeria. Evidently because of this shit.

  5. David July 29, 2009 at 1:20 am #

    NEVER give out your password. Period.

  6. lettergirl July 29, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    Actually, David, if you *never* give out your Twitter password, you truly miss out on using it as effectively. Saying *never* does not apply here if you want to use some of the great applications like Tweetdeck, Tweetie or Ubertwitter, to name a few. Without your password, the program can’t access the data it needs. You just need to know who you are trusting with the information.

  7. ingrid July 29, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    Ooops, sorry about that.
    ~ingrid

  8. Marsha @ Green Mountain at Fox Run August 4, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    I fell for that one, too. You described well my reasons for doing so. lol Had to change my password recently because of a Tweetdeck fail, so hope that takes care of it.

    I hate all this stuff! Our website just got hacked into and we’ve been having so many real problems as a result. I just can’t understand why people do these kinds of things. Guess I’m naive.

  9. kristy - wheres my damn answer August 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    Oh man … that’s a bummer. I have seen these on facebook too … they always prey on our feeling of wanting to know WHO is asking about us huh? F*ckers!!

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