Finding Who’s Behind the Fake Online Name
Posted by Writing PIs on September 7, 2012
There’s been a lot of press these last few weeks about people who use aliases or fake names to post nasty comments/reviews about others. A lot of the press has been focused on sockpuppets and certain well-known crime writers who have been posting positive reviews about themselves as well as negative reviews about their competitors. But this isn’t new. People have been creating and using online fake names for as long as the Internet has existed.
Sometimes people just don’t want to announce their real names to the world, which can be argued is a security precaution, while others create false IDs under which they post derogatory comments about other people, products, businesses and the like.
Tips for Researching the Real Person Behind a Fake ID
If someone who’s hiding behind a fake ID is threatening, harassing, intimidating or slandering you, contact your lawyer who can subpoena the alias’s records from the source, such as Amazon, YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to uncover his/her real identity.
Otherwise, below are a few tips for researching bogus IDs/names.
Run a reverse search on the fake name in Google
For example, if the alias is DragonAZ, type that term into your browser. You can expand this Google search to explore message boards by typing “DragonAZ message boards” (without the quotation marks) or “DragonAZ” message boards (because you want the exact name DragonAZ searched in message boards). If you want to be more specific as to the type of message board, add a modifier (for example, cellular message boards or gamer message boards). You might also replace “message boards” with “forums”–sample search strings might be:
DragonAZ gaming message boards
DragonAZ gaming forums
You can also further refine your search by giving the exact name of a company, product or entity–for example DragonAZ Nightstalker forum or DragonAZ Sprint message boards.
A sampling of searchable forums and message forums
Click on link to visit site:
Omgili (forum search engine–use the Advanced Search option for a more specific search)
BoardReader (a forum and message board search–use the Advanced Search option for a more specific search)
Open directory project DMOZ (over 5 million sites)
BoardTracker (comprehensive online discussion search–currently being revamped, but will be live again soon)
Have a good weekend, Writing PIs
- Internet Safety: How to Prevent Cyber Stalking (SafetyWeb)
- Crime writer caught faking Amazon reviews (bazaardaily.com)
- Are RJ Ellory’s faked reviews the tip of the iceberg? (telegraph.co.uk)
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