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How to prevent and build protection against online identity theft

In this expert response, John Strand explains what to do when your personal identity is impersonated online.

I have an ex-employee who has created a fake email address in my name and is using it to post fake ads on an Internet site, leaving my phone contact details. The police haven't been able to help. How can I gather digital evidence that I can present to the police or some other authority?
First, I would like to know how you know it is the ex-employee in question. This information can help direct the authorities if something illegal happens. But that is the key. Simply pretending to be someone online is not necessarily a crime that will interest the authorities.

Second, it appears that you are trying to gear up for a legal case. I strongly recommend against this action. Litigation is never cheap and is seldom fun.

I would recommend contacting the site where the content is being posted. If you can prove that you were not the one who created the fake ad, many of these sites will remove the content in question. That being said, once it is on the Internet, it will most likely be there forever in some form or another (think Google Cache).

This was last published in April 2009

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