Facebook does little to rid the site from romance scammers

With Facebook admitting that there are 270 million profiles that are fakes or clones, it doesn’t seem that Facebook wants to take them down. In November 2017 Facebook execs pledged to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that they would take down the fakes.

Colin Stretch Facebook’s general counsel stated that FB was hiring 20,000 reviewers and using artificial intelligence to help spot these scammers on their platform.

Hundreds of profiles are reported daily and Facebook’s review team seems to be on coffee break and  AI doesn’t seem to be working.  Endless fake after fake gets cleared and FB states they don’t violate their community standards.  It seems that if the name (fake or not) matches the profile that was registered in it gets cleared. If there is interaction on the wall the profile is cleared. But my question is “why isn’t FB looking beyond the superficial? It’s not too hard to do. Let’s take a look at two profiles David Bob Martin and Anderson L. Gran.

David Bob Martin

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100022584906546

Anderson L. Gran

https://www.facebook.com/anderson.l.gran/likes?lst=100010147597420%3A100010276151843%3A1524956641

See anything familiar between the two profiles? They are pictures of the same man. And the reverse image search site tineye states the photos have shown up on scammer websites.  I always search the groups and likes of the profiles as that can reveal more about the profile. Look at the photos posted. If a profile has little to no photos it is another sign that the profile is a fake.  And as an aside, both profiles expose pictures of innocent children as well.

Then there are the fake profiles that steal pictures of well known people like this one.

Dragan Sutanovac

A friend of mine received a friend request from Dragan Sutanovac.  His profile stated that he is a General for the US Army stationed in Afghanistan. How romantic to be contacted by a lonely soldier fighting for peace in this world of ours.  Problem is Dragan Sutanovac is the current leader of the Serbian Democratic Party and former Minister of Defence of Serbia.  I really don’t think he is now living in Afghanistan and working for the Americans. There are actually 30 profiles under the name Dragon Sutanovac or variations thereof. And many of them are fakes too.

dragan

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014070134907

The hilarious thing about this profile is truly what a mess it is and Facebook doesn’t remove it.  Take a look at the other profile pictures:

Doesn’t really resemble the U.S. Army General in the first photo does it?  All of the comments are in Vietnamese or Cambodian and a favourite TV show is Cambodian Idol.  Always take a look through all the posts on the wall as well as any likes and groups the individual may belong to. They are often telling.

Facebook does not provide many options for reporting profiles. If you report a profile you get only a few options to state why you’ve reported it.  Here are the first two screens you get when reporting,

Screen 1 – click on Report this Profile

anderson report

Screen 2

anderson fake

If you merely click on “This is a fake profile” it seems to get less traction from Facebook than if you click on “They’re using a different name than they use in everyday life.”  So although Facebook made promises to the Senate Intelligence Committe they have done little to rid the platform of these menacing criminals lurking on the site.  Complaints to Facebook fall into a black hole and you really wonder how anything is assessed within the platform. If they rely on users to police the site and report unusual behaviour where is Mark Zukerberg’s committment to get rid of these fake profiles?

One of my friends is head of Risk Management for a Bank in Rhode Island and she told me the overwhelming majority of losses to banking clients are online romance scams. Most victims are middle aged women and while men can be scammed as well the majority of victims are female.  And the tough part of warning anyone to these types of scams is that they totally believe the scammer is legit and in love. But the only thing they love is the thought of your money.  Could there be a point of culpibility for Facebook or other online platforms in some of these scams?

The FBI reported in 2016 that 15,000 instances of romance scams were reported with losses of 230 million.  They actually estimate that true losses are much higher with only 15 percent of victims reporting the scam.  Many of these scams are run by international crime groups with several of them based out of Nigeria.  Interpol states that some of the proceeds from these scams have gone on to fund terrorist groups such as Boko Haram.

5 Ways to tell if a LinkedIn Request is Fake

I received a connection request from Nathan Philippe yesterday. I always take a cursory look at any profile that wants to connect. The nature of LinkedIn is that we connect with some people we don’t know so taking the time to check out the profile is important with every request. I know so many people whose only criteria for vetting a potential connection is to see how many connections they have in common. But this is not enough.

So let`s take a look at this profile

nathan philippe linked in

  1. Take a look at how many connections the individual has. In this case when “Nathan” sent the request he had 22 connections.  That is red flag #1 to take a closer look at a profile.  It the sender is a young professional then it makes sense they may be new to LinkedIn and building their network. It is more unusual for an established professional to be joining.
  2. Take a look at where they are from and where they work.  In this case “Nathan” stated he worked for Liberty Bank in Fredericton.  Being Canadian myself I knew there was no such bank.  But for the sake of due diligence, I searched to make sure my hunch was correct.  Second of all when I clicked on the Liberty Bank Logo he placed in his profile, it linked to Liberty Bank in Tblisi, Georgia….a bit of a distance from Fredericton
  3. Take a look at their education. “Nathan” wrote that he attended the University of New Brunswick and received a BA of Law and then put LLB by his name.  A BA in Law does not earn you the LLB and the University of New Brunswick does not offer law degrees.
  4. With the previous red flags I decided to run a reverse image search of his profile picture on tineye.  The search came back noting that the photo was listed on a scammer site.

nathan tin eye5. Go with your gut. If a profile looks iffy to you then it might be.  It’s better not to connect at all then connect with someone who will mine your information and that of your connections.

 

Nejolla consults and teaches seminars in the area of Social Media Risk. Her website is http://www.interveritas.com

Delta Airlines fails to use Social Media to help passengers.

On August 8, 2016 Delta airlines experienced a system outage. It resulted in several hundred flights cancelled on that day and thousands delayed worldwide.

I first heard about the outage at 7 am MST when my son phoned me to tell me about it. He and his wife were travelling on August 8, for their long awaited honeymoon.  He said he heard that Delta flights were affected and people should check their reservations and flight status before heading out to the airport. When he looked at his reservation online, there were no indications of any problems with any of the flights.  He put in a call to Delta and the automated message told him that hold times were anywhere between 4 and 4.5 hours long.  He knew that my higher elite status might yield a quicker call back time so he asked that I put in a call.  When I called Delta the wait time was an hour and a half to one hour and fifty five minutes long.  I input my phone number and waited.

While I was waiting for the callback, I looked at Delta’s twitter feed to see what updated information I might find.  It was already 10:30 eastern time and the last tweet from Delta News Hub was almost two hours earlier at 8:40.

delta 2

I checked the reservation on delta.com and all information showed that flights were still operating on time. Actually, at that point, all flights departing Charlotte NC airport were operating on time according to the Delta website.  It was only when I went to look at the Charlotte airport website that I saw how many departing Delta flights were either cancelled or delayed.  My son’s flight was scheduled to leave at 3:30 pm for Atlanta to connect with an international flight to Amsterdam.   I knew that at this point that they would never make the international connection if they waited for their scheduled flight and only showed up at the airport in the afternoon.  I told them to get to the airport as soon as possible and be ready to board any flight that was actually moving.

An hour and thirty seven minutes later I received the call back from Delta.  I asked them what flights were still operating from Charlotte to Atlanta and they moved the reservation to flight #2251 that was scheduled to depart at 11:55 am and was now delayed until 2:12 pm.  Many of the earlier departing flights had been cancelled.  When they got to the airport at least 200 people were in line for agents to deal with their travel issues.  The agent informed my son that there was one more flight that was scheduled to leave Charlotte, flight #2609 that was scheduled to depart at 8:44 that morning was now supposed to fly at 2:00 pm and they got boarding passes for that one.  They boarded the aircraft just before 3 pm. The aircraft backed away from the gate and sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes. The pilot was great in informing passengers of the delay but eventually pulled back to the gate because Atlanta issued a ground stop, not once but twice since they were sitting on the plane.  Eventually that plane took off at 5:23 pm and got into Atlanta at 6:06 pm.

For several hours if passengers checked their flight status on the delta.com website or the delta app, neither showed that the flights were cancelled. Cancellations showed up if you searched the arrival and departure information of certain airports.  Some flight tracking sites  like www.flightaware.com and www.flightstats.com showed updated departure times (some with 6 hour departure delays) hours before the Delta website did.

Delta’s Unhelpful Cancellation Announcements

At  8:00 a.m. Delta News Hub started posting that 300 flights were cancelled and by 1:30 the number was up to 451. It’s great to give this update but let’s help people out a little by letting them know quickly and easily what flights were cancelled. As the day wore on, more and more flights were cancelled and travelers stranded without much help.  Lines at the airports were long, waiting for call backs was endless and the Delta website did not give accurate information.  That’s a problem.

Delta had every opportunity to use their Delta News Hub website to have a running list of cancelled flights making it easier for customers to get instant information. This was a huge missed opportunity. Actually when you look at the News Hub site, it looks like it is tailored for shareholders of the company and not the passenger. It is simply an old fashioned crank out the news platform…not designed to be interactive or helpful.

Delta.com

Delta did not use their website to their advantage at all. Where was the alert or warning right on the home page of the website? Nowhere did Delta.com advise the passengers of the outage and its effect on flights.

Social Media can help or hinder

One of the greatest tools any corporation has in times of crisis is social media.  It’s a fast way to get the message out to thousands of customers in real time.  It is the go to tool that customers use to get up to the minute information.

Here’s one example of the blunders we found on Delta News Hub

FullSizeRender (14)

Great! until you clicked on the link and found this:

delta not authorized

What? Not authorized?

Social Media Blunder Rule #1

Never deny access to information you have advertised on public posts/tweets.

This type of blunder on a high crisis travel day just stresses passengers out even more. Social media could have been used to an advantage but wasn’t. Who was tweeting, posting and commenting for Delta Airlines?

Who’s in charge of the message?

In June of this year Delta hired Moxie USA (www.moxieusa.com) as their social media agency. Only a few weeks into the relationship and the social media strategy has failed considerably.

“Moxie is a recognized expert in the social space,” said Julieta McCurry, Director, Marketing Communications at Delta. “As we continue to grow, it’s critical that we create meaningful and relevant experiences for our customers across the channels they increasingly rely on the most.”

Kristina Jonathan, EVP of Strategy at Moxie, commented, “Social plays an always-on and central role in Delta’s business — connecting customer service, brand relevance and flight reservations 24/7. We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the Delta team to design and employ sophisticated storytelling across the largest shared spaces on the web.”

So many of these agencies promise the moon but fail on delivery when a crisis presents itself. Why? Because most of them aren’t equipped to handle it. In this case it seems that Delta itself had no clear cut strategy for crisis although they should have.  So those people tweeting, posting and commenting on behalf of the company had to wait for some sort of corporate approval before each tweet or post was sent. Well prepared corporations plan for crisis and carry out drills to be prepared for the real event.

Another problem is that those who are handling the crisis on the inside really have no idea what the customer is experiencing on the outside.  The lack of returned calls, the 200 person long line ups at the airport, no idea when things will get back to normal and the sense of loss knowing that they will miss important events like a parents 50th wedding anniversary or honeymoons unnerve people. These stories are all over twitter and Facebook.

What are you doing to make this easier for your customer?

That’s the bottom line in any messaging during a crisis. No one wants to see a corporate video that looks it is made to appease the shareholders.They don’t want to see posts that offer no solutions and they don’t want to see information links that tell a customer they aren’t authorized to view the page.  They want to see solutions.  Is the website now showing updated and real flight cancellations?  Have you put more staff on the phones to try and make the wait time shorter? Tell us. Tell us what you are doing to help us.

delta passenger stranded.PNG

“This isn’t who we are”

Delta CEO Ed Bastian was featured in two videos about the outage; the first an apology and update from the operation center and the second, a confusing message stating “this isn’t who we are”.

Social media begs that leadership of organizations show the human touch to communications online today. Take for example the tweets of Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes after the Air Crash QZ8501

tony-fernandes tweets

These were personal and created a connection with anyone reading them. There was no question that he cared about everyone affected.  It’s the difference between a personal message and a corporate one.  It doesn’t seem that Ed Bastian has a twitter account…maybe he should.

Delta stated it wanted to “create meaningful and relevant experiences for our customers across the channels they increasingly rely on the most.” In this case I think they missed their mark.

Before I go

Lastly I do want to acknowledge how amazing Delta airport staff and flight crews were during this crisis. The pressure on the front lines is enormous.  Also big thank you needs to go out to staff from United and Frontier Airlines in Charlotte Douglas International Airport who stepped in to help Delta staff with Delta passengers.

By the way 48 hours later and my son still didn’t get a call back from Delta.

Nejolla Korris is a speaker and consults and teaches classes on social media risk and other security topics. If you are interested in Nejolla as a speaker or for more information, visit Nejolla’s website at www.interveritas.com.   She is also a very frequent flyer on Delta airlines and usually loves their customer service.

 

 

 

 

Sabrina Corgatelli, Idaho State and Social Media

The luring and killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe  started an online frenzy against big game hunters.  Within hours of the story going public Minnesota Dentist Walter J. Palmer was no longer a free man. The outrage of people commenting on social media spurred a frenzy of activity which resulted in closing down his dental practice and petitions to the White House to extradite Palmer to Zimbabwe.

Just a few days later an accountant at Idaho State University, Sabrina Corgatelli got in on the game.  While it seemed Walter Palmer was trying to fly under the radar, Corgatelli did anything but.  She set up a Facebook page especially for the hunt along with posting on Instagram.  Was she looking for her fifteen minutes of fame?  Her photos and comments revel in the game kills she has made and taunts the “haters” as she calls them.  One of these posts was accompanied by an image of a smiling Leonardo DiCaprio in his role as the Great Gatsby, captioned: ‘To all the haters – stay tuned, you’re gonna have so much more to be p***ed about.’ But the picture that outraged most people is one of her next to the giraffe she killed.

Her employer Idaho State University has been eerily quiet. In one twitter post someone posted that ISU stated that Corgatelli’s actions have nothing to do with the University. While that is unconfirmed, let me remind all employers that there is very little separation between personal and professional when an internet outrage is sparked.  All it tells me for sure is that Idaho State has no idea how to handle this crisis.  I put in a call to Dr. Adrienne King who is shown on the ISU website as the person in charge of crisis communications.

Dr. King called me back and I asked her why there was no official response from the University.  She told me that they did post a full statement on the Idaho State University Facebook page on August 4. I asked her how the University reacted to Corgatelli’s actions and again I was referred to their Facebook page. These responses were not in keeping with an organization who knows how to deal with an online crisis.  I asked if the University had a Social Media policy and she admitted that they don’t.  “I imagine that we will have discussions towards that now” she replied.

Social media policies, however, cannot be the only cornerstone that determines if an organization is going to take action or not.  Is it in the best interest of any organization to keep an employee who caused such an international stir and flaunts killing of big game in our faces?  Is trial and conviction by internet a viable precursor for a corporation to take action?  In some instances that has been so.

Remember Justine Sacco? The woman who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding I’m white!” She tweeted this out to her 170 followers just before her fight took  off and didn’t even think anyone would repy. But by the time her flight landed the Twittersphere exploded with outrage.  Her employer fired her by the time she landed in Cape Town.  I think she was the last to know.

Then this past January UK stockbroker Rahan Qadar was fired after a tweet joking about hitting a cyclist. “Think I just hit a cyclist. But I’m late for work so had to drive off lol”. He went by the name @RayQ18.  He told police he was joking but his employer Hargreaves Lansdown did not take the joke lightly and terminated Qadar’s employment

Both hunters declared that what they were doing was legal – as if that is the barometer for what is right. Just because it is legal doesn’t make it right.  I still can’t find Idaho State University’s official statement regarding Sabrina Corgatelli on their Facebook page.  They have set up a forum that allows you to post your comments but it is in a hidden away space with no replies to those posting.  Again, not very transparent and not engaging to rebuild public confidence of the stance; moral or otherwise that the University is taking regarding Corgatelli.

Justine Sacco and Rahan Qadar were fired for posting inappropriate comments on twitter. Both companies put out official statements stating they did not condone the behavior of their employees and saw no other option but to terminate employment.  Sabrina Corgatelli boasts about her kills online and Idaho State stands idly by.

Nejolla Korris is an expert in Linguistic Lie Detection and Social Media Risk.  She teaches seminars on these topics throughout North America, Africa, SE Asia and Europe.  Miss Korris received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her international work in lie detection.

Reputation Risk and Social Media: Where personal and professional worlds collide

Social media has become the murky water where personal and professional reputations are shared, liked, posted and sometimes annihilated. The ability to share anything on the spot has become the bane of many an organization and the people who work for them.

Just a week ago a young veterinarian Kristen Lindsey was fired for posting and boasting about  a picture of herself with a cat that she had killed with a bow and arrow.  While police couldn’t charge Lindsey until they determined if the picture was real or not, her employer didn’t hesitate to take action. The Washington Animal Clinic issued a statement on their website.  “We are absolutely appalled, shocked, upset, and disgusted by the conduct,” a spokesperson for the clinic wrote in a statement. “We condemn it in the strongest possible manner.”

Does a social media gaff have to have this type of shock factor in order to be noticed? The answer is no.  If your corporation only measures social media violations based on how far reaching they are, then stand by because the shock wave will come.

A couple of years ago, we conducted an exercise where one corporation wanted to measure the online footprint of some of their senior executives.  Everyone of the individuals bought into the exercise and were sure that their online footprints were essentially clean…..but, there’s always that one….  We had a look at some online dating sites and we stumbled upon one where people are looking for affairs.  We  put in a series of search criteria; location, age range (because everybody lies about it), height, hair color, eye color etc. Lo and behold a picture loads and it is the professional picture of one of our executives and it is the same picture used on the corporate website.

As you can imagine, this opened up a huge can of worms. The executive claimed his private life was private. The corporation claimed “not when you use the picture we own of you”.  It is so easy to see how these worlds can collide. I’m not at liberty to say what happened to this executive, but let’s just say the point was made.  Anyone, anywhere can make the connection between an individual and where they work.

When I read posts on social media I always look at who is making them. Especially those that threaten or break ethical boundaries. And each and everyday I am shocked at those who do not have a filter or a thought that what they might be posting is inappropriate for their positions.  But it makes for interesting reading, research and eventually fodder for my classes. When teaching in house sessions on social media risk I am always amused at the participants madly deleting posts and pictures throughout the duration of the class.

Some tips to keep your personal & professional reputations intact:

1)  Distance your personal and professional social media profiles.                                      If you have a professional reputation to protect then maybe don’t mention where                  you work on your personal social media profiles.

2) Think before you post.                                                                                                              If you think that your opinion or actions can come back and bite you professionally –            don’t post them. (And PS how many times have I seen someone make an                            inappropriate post and then claim their accounts were hacked? – nope don’t buy it)

3)  Disclaimers on social media mean nothing.                                                                         Those posts of “views are my own and don’t reflect the view of my employer” mean              absolutely nothing.  This will not prevent people from associating you with your                    employer, in fact, it usually draws people to look into who your employer is.

4)  Understand your social media policy and code of conduct                                               Remember that you only have one reputation.

As long as HR & Ethics departments think that what a person posts on their social media profiles is personal, then they do nothing to mitigate the risks involved for the corporation. There is no such thing as personal or private as long as a person uses social media. Worlds collide and merge as one – either like a good marriage or a bad one.

Nejolla provides training to corporations on social media risk and social engineering.  

Retaliation from blog about Citi Vice President and QQ Solutions tech guy results in posts of my dead brother’s photo

Well how surprising is it that after my blog from a couple of days ago someone decided to post my deceased brother’s picture on their profile picture on Facebook?   Not only did they do that but they tried posting any personal information they could find out about me.Of course the coward labelled “Sam Lane”  blocked me from seeing anything but their profile picture and cover but they did allow friends to see some of the posts. A very deliberate taunt.

Cyber bullies and trolls are always in full force on social media.  Something that just too many adults and children experience today without much remedy. What is more surprising is that there is no mechanism within Facebook to report an issue like this.  Unless the person posts overt threats – no one will intervene. Unless the troll is posting pictures of you – there is no way to report it. Facebook kindly suggests that you contact the troll posting and ask them to change it or remove it. Think of what this means for hundreds if not thousands of people bullied each and everyday on social media.

And behind every troll is a real person. In my blog last week I pointed out a couple of individuals who posted in plain site that they were conspiring to do something to me.  Those profiles were real and as one mentioned he “is already taking that route now”. He initially tried to contact my webhosting server and insisted that they take down my website. He got quite nasty with them and then decided that he would come after me personally.

rodden threat

I see the post above as not a mere threat but an already executed action by the admission of the writer. This type of hate mongering and bullying is something people face each day on social media.  But what does it do for everyday folks who suffer the consequences of the big bully?  All too often especially with younger people the bullying can have devastating effects. But the laws on cyber bullying and libel are evolving and changing everyday.

No longer does a threat have to have criminal consequences to be considered serious or actionable. Those that delve into other areas of law are being recognized and challenged each day.  A young teen in Georgia was being bullied by several classmates. They put up a fake profile page and posted many derogatory comments and photos of the girl.  The girl and her parents sued for libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Georgia Court of Appeals also ruled that the parents of the boy who put up the fake site could be held liable for not having him delete the page once they found out about it.

In my case, we have two grown up professionals talking about butting into an issue that they have only limited knowledge of and conspiring to cause me harm. Boys, grow up,  concentrate on your families, your work and your maturity.  Although people may feel they have the freedom to say or post whatever they want on Social Media, words can have a long and lasting impact.

Citi Vice President and Tech Guy from QQ Solutions Post a Bit Too Much on Social Media?

It’s a daily occurrence in social media for people to post, criticize, threaten and conspire.  The sweeping epidemic of negativity still surprises me, even though it shouldn’t and I wonder what motivates people to do it.   Does anyone think about how leaving a permanent legacy of their name, photo and venom for everyone to see will affect their reputation? Last week I was involved in a dispute with a dog rescue in North Carolina. The rescue posted her version of events of course twisting details to garner sympathy.  She then blocked me from posting remarks.  As you can predict, I was barraged with a ton of hater posts.

Looking through a few of them, I was interested some of the more threatening posts. Who were these people who spewed hatred and their willingness to come after me?   Usually the most damning posts come from Trolls, people with fake identities and live for the moment to damn others but not all.  People who didn’t know me, would never meet me and I would never meet them swarming like locusts wanting to cause damage. A couple of guys post caught my eye.  They were conspiring about different ways they could come after me. One suggested legal action initially, then the second started talking about “other ways” to bring me down. They debated a forced take down of my website, threats to my hosting provider, then other ways to take me down nudge, nudge, wink, wink. And one of them said they could help because of the work they do. They reminded me of two  gorillas pounding their chests to assert their position as kings of the jungle.

I wondered who they were and clicked on their profiles.  And what did I find? A Vice President of Citi Bank and a tech guy with insurance software provider QQ Solutions.

Ken Cronin’s FB profile tells me he works for Citi and his LinkedIn Profile lists his title as Vice President, Learning Technology and Architecture. I do a double take. What the heck is this guy doing getting involved and posting where he should not be?  Most financial institutions have really strict social media policies and employee codes of conduct.  In a nutshell they say that regardless of whether an employee is on company time or personal time they always represent the corporation. And nowhere is that more prevalent than with members of senior management.  So here we have a Citi Vice President conspiring with another guy to try and force the take down of my website and implying that there are other ways to get at me.  He is also taking a technology degree at present which may be funded by the bank. So is he using that bank funded education to hack or shame me?  Interesting question on where the ethical boundaries lie in this situation. As I scrolled down the public portion of his Facebook page,  I came across this post of his.

Now I see where Ken Cronin gets it….an inability to keep his comments to himself despite of where he works.   There have been other bad taste social media posts that have cost people their jobs.  The infamous Justine Sacco who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m white!  The PR firm Justine worked for fired her before she landed in Johannesburg.

Earlier this year stockbroker Rayhan Qadar was fired from the firm Hargreaves Lansdown who stated they found his comment unacceptable. Qadar tweeted  ‘Think I just hit a cyclist. But I’m late for work so had to drive off lol’ Qadar was joking but his superiors didn’t find it funny at all.

Austin Rodden is much lower hanging fruit on his corporate family tree.   The company he works for provides software for the insurance industry…hmmm a big portion of my clientele as well.  What would they think about an employee of QQ Solutions thinking of taking tech revenge against a party they don’t know?  In most cases it should raise the hackles of any client.  If this is something he might do to a person he doesn’t know, how do we know a guy like him wouldn’t try to cause a client harm if his mood struck him that way?

When are we going to find our filters on social media? To think before we post, to mind our own business…or is that just not the nature of the beast? In so many ways it is great to that everybody has a voice. It serves to break down barriers, conquer geography and create communities.  And then there is the sheer idiocy of the endless hatred and rants that never seem to end.  As a friend of mine says “The Internet is like a woman, she never forgets and she never forgives”.

Tips:

Think before you post: you may think you are clever but your company might not.

CJ Adams: Missing and Found – What now?

CJ Adams is a friend of mine. She went missing from Boise, Idaho after a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday morning. On Thursday, her mother posted on FB that she was gone and asked her to come home. She was found on Saturday morning in Clara, Mississippi.

The most crucial time in locating a missing person is the first 48 hours. But in this case just like so many others, the police told family that they couldn’t issue a missing person’s report until those 48 hours had passed.

CJ had been on medical treatment, left home without clothes, without her medication and without her service dog Harry. Already those realities gave all the signs that things were not normal.  In the first 24 hours gone, she had also used her debit card twice to purchase gas in Wyoming. Was CJ on the road alone or did someone get her card and her vehicle? Questions nobody could answer at that point.

The police in Boise told her family that they had to wait 48 hours before issuing the missing persons report.  They also stated there was no criminal activity so no need to rush. I’d really like to know who surmised that conclusion? I have worked on a few missing persons cases in my time and grand statements like this irk me.  There was no evidence to suggest anything to the contrary either. The police also told her husband to cancel her debit card to entice her to contact home. When I heard that my heart sank. That debit card was a lifeline and the only thing we had that could inform us in real time where it was being used and where she might be headed.   Too many people think we live in a world of real time CSI and that pinging her phone would just miraculously tell everyone where she was.  Well policing doesn’t work like that. Boise police would have to go to her cell phone provider and get a warrant to access her information and whereabouts.

At that point five of us decided to do what we could to help find CJ. Naomi, Jude, Trudi, Lisa and I started our campaign. We posted notices on Facebook, talked to her mom, asked friends in Boise to go over to the house, posted on twitter, contacted trucker organizations and put up a help find link on my website. We tried to predict a couple of driving routes and contacted police departments along those routes, emailed media and spread the word whatever way we could. Within hours there were so many others offering support and resources.

For the most part media wasn’t that interested in the story at that time. The Idaho Statesman sent us an email where they said the police downplayed the disappearance and said there was no criminal activity  so this disappearance was being treated like many others…”a dime a dozen”.  The Statesman’s business reporter interviewed her husband and wrote what I perceive to be a scathing piece…of course with much taken out of context.   His report of her being found was even more defamatory.  Six years ago, CJ suffered severe head trauma in a white water rafting accident.

I’m writing this now as I watched a few media outlets report on CJ winding up in Clara Mississippi with a ton of misinformation. What you don’t know is since she was found CJ has spent the past few days in a no name hospital in Mississippi where the nurses have not even given her the courtesy of a shower.  Her family is on their way to get her and a friend of ours went to visit her.

I also need to stop and think how devastating this could be to any family in the United States. The astronomical medical bills, a stay in a hospital that might not be covered by  insurance and the unknown medical reason that would cause this type of amnesia. The irreparable harm caused by a rookie journalist who cared more about sensation than good reporting labelled it a mental breakdown. It’s now time to stand up and help.

I want to acknowledge two unknown truckers that helped CJ in her journey. They gave her a safe place to sleep for the night and the next day they nestled her truck in between theirs and guided her to Mississippi. She remembers your help and is grateful.

To our group of five who embraced this journey of finding CJ and all of the others who helped out, I salute you.  Without the dedication and persistence of people working to help CJ and praying for her safety, who knows what could have happened. I am proud to know you all and am thrilled you are my friends. Thank you Naomi, Lisa, Jude and Trudi.

~Nejolla~

PS Where would we be without our dachshunds?