While the internet has provided an enormous amount of convenience and access to virtually any service or product, along with that convenience comes risk and even danger. Each time we conduct business on the internet whether it’s through product purchases or service requests we are taking a risk that few even think twice about. The kind of risk I’m talking about isn’t whether or not you’ll like the product when it arrives or even if it arrives. Nor does it have to do with providing credit card information on-line.
This risk involves your reputation, your business and your name. The same name you’ve spent years, possibly decades protecting and preserving the best you can, knowing that the success of your business relies on it. In an unfortunate incident recently with a service provider, I was faced with the consequences of doing business with a less than reputable company. A company that solicits services that claim to post your content on Craigslist, is now putting up pages across the internet calling me a thief, scammer and any other name he can drum up in an attempt to ruin my reputation.
This unscrupulous character has taken bits of information found on me and displayed them is such a way that what is perceived is untrue. This man has gone to great lengths to tarnish my reputation over $100.00 service charge I disputed because he didn’t perform the work agreed upon. While I fully expected retaliation as a result of my disputing a charge, I had a completely different picture of what that looked like.
The abuse that followed both via email threats and defamation has been horrific. This individual began contacting my clients, spreading his venom and that’s when I knew it was time to get the authorities involved. Apparently I wasn’t the first person who has reported this “masked man” as several complaints had come before mine. When most of us think about the risks associated with doing business with less than reputable companies, we naturally assume that risk to be poor service or not getting what we paid for. Rarely does something like this ever cross our minds.
Unfortunately this person has gone to great lengths to mask not only his identity but also his IP address. He technically doesn’t exist on the internet, and thus where the greatest danger lies for the consumer.
I’ve now realized how important it is to do business with others who are on the same playing field. A lesson I have learned the hard way, but nonetheless – learned. I am sharing this in hopes that others will proceed with caution when doing business on the internet.