Will Online Information Suffice?
Author: Cyrille Stern
Robert Alpert of Arizona was shocked to find false and malicious posts about him and his family on the internet in November last year. It was rather unexpected since he has never been convicted of a crime of any type, has never conned or swindled anyone, and has had a distinguished business career for over 40 years.
In a month, there were already more than five web pages claiming that Alpert is a scammer.
At this time, two billion people worldwide are looking for answers on the internet, on popular search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing, and using the internet as a tool to ruin one’s reputation is highly effective. Most people believe what they see and read on the internet. With regards to this, what was done to Alpert has had an adverse effect on his business and worse, the reputation of his family.
The attacker used the words “Robert Alpert Arizona Scammer”, “Robert Alpert Corporation” and “Robert Alpert Con Man Artist” to lure the page visitors into believing that the claims about him are true.
The attacker revealed Alpert’s personal information and mixed it with erroneous and malicious claims. This technique made the entire story believable. The attacker also cited Alpert’s other activities such as charity and previous investments, and then combined them with scam stories. The worst part is maligning his family on the same post.
Online reputation attacks can happen to anybody, especially to prominent people. Celebrities and politicians are the common victims of such attacks due to their notoriety. People create bogus accounts bearing a prominent figure’s name and photo or publish rumors on the internet. The worst part in this activity is maligning the person. In Alpert’s case, he is a businessman in Arizona who had operated many successful businesses over a period in excess of 40 years.
Not all information found on the internet is true. Most of the time, a person believes what he reads on the internet, therefore malicious attacks by other people through the internet can definitely damage his subject’s reputation and cause financial injury. In the case of Robert Alpert, the false and disparaging information is untrue. The anonymous posting party went to great lengths to hide his true identity, using temporary IP addresses and newly formed false identities, but Mr. Alpert’s lawyers have been hot on the attackers trail.