Cyber-Bullying: It Happens to Adults, Too

two men fightingMost of the press about cyber-bullying has been focused on teenagers. High-profile cases have shown us a world of Mean Girls (and mean boys) to the Nth degree, to the point where many victims have been driven to suicide.

But the threat of cyber-bullying does not go away when you leave high school, or even when you graduate from college. It happens in workplaces, too, and the consequences can be just as devastating as they are for teens.

Just note this Star story about a victim named Heidi Blery.

She was then in her late-20s, living on the West Coast and working in the office of a car-rental firm. Her ordeal started after a disgruntled customer built a website to rebuke the company.

At first, nobody paid much attention. But then a strange thing happened: this seething outsider began to attract company insiders.

His spite was contagious.

Within a few months, the website hissed with scurrilous gossip and character assassination. These discussions by rogue employees, sometimes more than 100 comments deep, often targeted colleagues.

Blery recalls one thread in which anonymous posters rated her breasts and other body parts as nonchalantly as if they were debating the merits of daylight savings time. Another discussion claimed, wrongly, that she was having an affair with her boss.

…After those message boards plagued her from morning to night, she quit and returned to school. Upon graduating, she sent out resumes, more than 500 in a short period. Nobody called. That’s when she realized the unflattering discussions about her were the first to appear on search engines when anyone – including a potential employer – typed in her name.

When it happens to adults, the legal term is “Cyber-harassment.” But it’s devastating by any name.

There are laws against this sort of behavior in all 50 states. But the behavior continues to persist, often because the tormenters are cloaked beneath a curtain of anonymity.

If you’re the victim of workplace cyber-bullying or cyber-harassment you might find yourself in the same position that Heidi was in: unable to escape because the digital shadow of other people’s defamation is following you around.

When that happens, it’s time to work with a professional to get the offending content removed. And it’s time to take charge of your web presence, building up a profile that tells the world who you are, what you do, and why you’re a great person. You can take back your good name, and your peace-of-mind.

 

 

 

Landlords Google You, Too

landlords-mugshotIf you have a mugshot that’s been posted all over the Internet then you may be worried about your employment prospects and your dating life. Potential employers and potential dates are well known to run Google searches. And a mugshot is the last thing they want to see.

Employers and dates aren’t the only ones, however. Landlords may also Google prospective tenants to see who they might be dealing with. Anyone who has a photo on JustMugshots.com, Mugshots.com, or similar sites may find that they have trouble renting an apartment, too.

You should not end up homeless just because you have an arrest somewhere in your past, particularly if you are innocent. There are enough barriers to renting safe, affordable housing without an extortionist website’s efforts to make your life even harder.

If you know you’ve been arrested in the past and you’re looking for a new home there are some steps that you should take before you pay for your first rental application.

First, you should Google yourself to find out whether or not you are appearing on any of these websites. If you don’t find anything then you can pursue a rental with confidence.

If you find your photo, then you need to take additional steps.

If you’re innocent, you need to discuss your situation with your lawyer. Many states will allow you to get the records sealed or expunged, especially if you were ultimately acquitted.

Expungement can take a long time, however. So you also need to look for a way to get your mugshot removed. InternetReputation.com can do this in as little as 72 hours for a small fee. They can do this even if you were convicted of the crime.

If you decide to fill out rental applications before your mugshot has been removed then make sure you include information about your arrest with your application. Include copies of documents which show that you were declared innocent. If you’re the first person to tell your own story the Landlord is less likely to hold your past against you. You can also use this technique if the incident was minor, or deep in your past. The Landlord is less likely to give you the benefit of the doubt if he finds out on his own.

The mugshot industry is so dangerous because it is so good at seeping into every part of your life. Fight back, know your rights, and do everything you can to clear your good name. Don’t let unscrupulous webmasters hold you hostage or stop your life in its tracks. Work to get those mugshots removed today.

Payment Processors Slow to Take Down Mugshot Websites

credit-card-processors-slowThough most payment processors have stepped forward to say that they intend to cut off the mugshot website industry, the wheels are turning slowly.

In fact, it’s not even clear whether or not payment processors intend to really follow through their promises. Perhaps they’re hoping that the issue will be long forgotten before they actually have to turn down money from anyone.

CNN Money posted a recent update on the situation.

Of the four major credit card companies, only American Express said it has completely cut off ties. Even though two of the mug shot websites said they still accept American Express, Amex spokeswoman Sanette Chao assured they wouldn’t work.

“It’s going to decline on our end,” she said.

The other companies weren’t as direct. Discover said it was “still in the review process of terminating relationships.”

MasterCard and Visa said they are working with the “acquiring banks” that the mug shot websites use to process credit card payments.

Perhaps these banks have reviewed the industry and realized just how much money that they’re walking away from. Perhaps they’re responding to the amount of criticism that some parties have lobbed at them for their power to choose who lives and who dies on the Internet. This move might have been universally applauded, for example, had credit card processors not also shut down donations to WikiLeaks two years ago.

Either way, it doesn’t matter. It simply means that for the time being, the mugshot extortion racket is alive, well, and ready to take money.

If you have a mugshot on any of these websites, however, you shouldn’t whip out your credit card. Most mugshot websites work together.

That means you can get your mugshot taken down from website A and pay $350 for the privilege…only to see your mugshot reappear on website B. You could go through ten or fifteen websites before you see the end of the problem. This process can take you weeks, months, even years, leaving your life on hold.

Or you can just get all of your mugshots removed at the source by using the services of a mugshot removal company, one that can get your mugshots removed in as little as 72 hours.