From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  Don't be the next Te'o

[January 24, 2013]

Don't be the next Te'o

Jan 24, 2013 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Whatever you think of Manti Te'o, what's happened over the past few weeks regarding this girlfriend hoax has been quite embarrassing. Being catfished is something no one wants or deserves.

For those of you who don't know, a catfish is someone who uses social media to create false identities in an attempt to pretend they're someone they're not.

And while what happened to Manti Te'o is bringing the term to light, we shouldn't talk about catfishing like it's a new thing. Ever since there's been an Internet, there's been a fat guy in an undershirt pretending to be a hot model. Social media only makes the lie more believable and more noticeable.

But now that it's happened to someone prominent, there's a renewed interest. We're focusing plenty on how the media should have been more diligent in its reporting and how Te'o shouldn't have been so quick to believe, but what we're not doing enough of is talking about how to prevent it from happening to you.

We may not all be up-and-coming football stars, but these tips can help you avoid becoming the victim of a catfish or general web hoax.

Google image search Te'o basically was attracted to a Twitter avatar. That's OK -- a little weird but OK -- but only if you do your homework first. While no one is saying you have to check every image of every person, use this if there's something that doesn't feel quite right. The easiest way to use the free tool is to go to and drag and drop an image onto the page. A good result is "no other sizes of this image found," indicating it hasn't been shared by thousands of websites. But if you see the same image used on multiple social media profiles, you may have a problem. Considering this takes all of 15 seconds, can you really afford not to do it Check the person's Facebook Timeline The privacy settings may prevent you from seeing much, but focus on two areas to start: The join date and the number of friends. If someone just joined Facebook an hour ago, that's a reason for a red flag. If someone has 6 friends and joined years ago, that's also a reason to raise the flag. If the person has some open privacy settings, look at posting habits. Are there any photos of family members Has anyone tagged this person in other activities Does the person like other comments or businesses, or do they seem to go out of their way to avoid a conversation Someone who is very quiet on Facebook should be given a closer look.

Check the person's LinkedIn profile While LinkedIn isn't the hot social network where everyone congregates, it's less likely these days to find someone with absolutely no LinkedIn presence. Don't use this as your only measurement, but if the other two above are problematic and you find no LinkedIn presence, add it to the concern list.

Ask to video chat Going back to the fat guy in the undershirt, a request to video chat would be his worst nightmare. That kind of chat existed years ago, but it wasn't the norm. Be concerned if repeated attempts are met with excuses. And don't chalk it up to technology -- most computers, mobile devices and tables nowadays support this feature, whether it's Facebook chat, Skype, FaceTime or something else.

Background check Creepy Stalkerish It may seem that way, but if you really want to be sure someone is telling you the truth, a simple Google search for online background checks turns up plenty of options. And because more options exist today than a few years ago, they aren't that expensive. Save this for the last thing, but remember the option is available should it make you feel more comfortable.

And finally, here's one piece of advice that never changes, no matter how much technology evolves. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

What questions do you have about social media Tweet them to @scottkleinberg or @amyguth. We might select yours for use in a future column.

___ (c)2013 the Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner

Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.