Imagine this : You're approached by a total stranger who wants to know what your name is and where you live and what your goal in life is and a million other things.
Now... I am not against making new friends. But when all you have to gauge this 'prospective' friend is a username and an 'avatar' that is not even human-ish.... you will have second thoughts. And with good reason.
Now this 'person' had contacted me through my IM id which I am not sure how he came to know. And well... it started with a 'Hi'. And for the sake of courtesy I replied back. (This shall be my mistake numero uno) And then he kept on asking for various details like my name and how it seemed weird (my onscreen name is different from my real one) and blah blah blah... I can assure you... he wasn't exactly the best conversationalist. And so... I chose to keep myself aloof.
And then, he was talking about my goals in life. I mean come on! I am not the type of person to share my life's goals with a total stranger.
And I must admit I got worked up at his insistence and did sarcastically point it out to him that I wasn't interested. And for the first day, he left! (Cue for a sigh of relief)
but Nay... He did return the next day. I should've blocked the bloke (that sounds nice!) but I didn't. Well... I didn't want to send the wrong message to people that I wasn't sociable (My second mistake). On second day, his tone was a lot more friendlier... and that got me even more suspicious. He kept blabbing about his day and other equally disconnected things (If he had half the brains he claimed he did... He would've gotten the hint). And then... suddenly, he asked me to send me the link of my profile from my social networking site. Now this seriously got me worried. I declined the offer. And at this point, things got nasty. He suddenly switched over from the very nice 'prospective' friend to the aggressive male dish-rag who accused me of b**ching around with him. (Oh... polite denial is termed that... huh?) and horror of horrors! He had hacked into my acocunt already and showed me my own photos! Well... that was when I decided enough was enough. I have blocked him ever since.
Now I'm sure this post sounds like a sermon in many ways. But well... I would just like to share what I've been through. I begin to suspect if my account has been hacked into for I find myself a member of communities that I would never in my right mind consider joining! (50cents... not my type ever!) And this latest incident. All I could do now was delete my albums and tighten the security a notch higher.
Apparently... there had been a security breach a month or two ago. I suspect this infiltration had happened then. But this incident hasn't exactly left me ruffled, for I believe there are more number of intelligent netizens than there are dumb-ass idiots like the one I managed to bump into!
That person has long since created a community that borders on vulgarity under my expense. And I'm not sure if he'll stop at that. But whatever weapons he may throw at me, I am fully prepared to meet him head-on. I understand that these jerks feed on their victim's fear and to appear non-plussed would be the first thing I should do. And I am non-plussed.
But what fails to amuse me is that... this person claims to be a citizen of the US for the past 9 years. But his demeanour clearly shows what a lout he is in reality. Oh well... he's promised me I'd be famous in the "nether" circles of the Web. And I've wished him luck on making a fool out of himself. We'll see what happens. And nope! I'm not some cry-baby indian doll who runs for cover at the slightest signs of trouble... bring it on buster! I'm more than ready for you! >=)
And now, a few pointers to such "people" who lurk the web everywhere :
- Not everybody is into spontaneous cyber bon homie. And no... Just because we know your name, we're not going to go out with you.
- Please be mature enough to understand that when a person doesn't want to be your friend, they don't want to be your friend. They're being open and honest about their feelings regarding the relationship early on. Do understand that and maybe you'll lead a happier life.
- Stop assuming that every girl or boy you meet will be flattered if you tell them you're rich and settled in the glorious "US of A". That place is not heaven. And you're not God.
- Stop hunting for potential 'dates' in social networking sites. There are specific websites for that and I think you'll find a warmer reception there.
- Don't assume that every girl you meet will be a beautiful princess who shall gladly accept your advances and shall happily walk down the aisle with you.
- And there are certain basic courtesies that are universally accepted. hacking into another person's account just to be rude is not only immature, its also demeaning on your part.
- And finally... Rudeness is a sign of fear and weakness that's lurking in your heart. If you're not afraid or weak, prove it by being courteous and civil.
And for all those other people out there, who've seen their accounts being infiltrated,
- Report spams and harmful messages immediately. Delete them as soon as you get them.
- Check to see if any abmormal aspects are present in your profile. Check if you have any additional communities tha you don't remember signing into.
- Do NOT accept friend requests from strangers. They may be well meaning. But why take a chance?
- I know I shouldn't be saying this... but don't post sensitive information in any public domain. The world has its share of evil doers. And their conscience has long been dead.
- Lock your albums. But that may just be a fancy way of keeping things safe... but not necessarily an efficient way. Hackers can hack locks very easily. And so, just to be on the safer side, don't put your albums online. (yes! yes! I've learnt my lesson now! :D)
- Don't be intimidated if some low life decides to taunt you. A bully can only trouble you if you're scared of him. That person has a much lower level of self-confidence than you. Let your bravery come out and fight for your justice! :D
- Have good relationships with your friends (the ones you've seen and met). Don't care what the world thinks of you. As the saying from Dr. Seuss goes,
"Those who matter don't mind. And those who mind don't matter."
So folks... Have a splendid time online but just be careful a little.
Now, to all those potential 'friends' out there! I humbly apologize if I don't tell you my exact address and directions to come to my house the very first day we meet. And I'm sorry... I'm not that trusting.