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Tips on how to spot scammers and/ or stalkers


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It's common knowledge that alts/ multiple accounts are a popular thing to have in Second Life. Whether it be for photography, blogging, making poses, roleplay characters, the reasons for having alternative accounts are endless, but unfortunately they aren't all created with the best of intentions. With scammers being an ever posing threat, with them finding new and sneakier ways to steal your info and accounts, it can be really hard to tell who is actually new to the platform and who has created one to clear their tracks and continue with their nasty tactics.
I've been on the platform for a while and I have several accounts of my own, have friends who also have some and have encountered people who have a few as well, so I wanted to share a couple things I thought would make spotting them just a little easier. Now keep in mind these are not set in stone methods to tell and of course, not everyone who falls under the things I'll tell you to pay attention to will be scammers, unfortunately, there isn't a concrete way to tell, these are simply things to look out for. I am going to be focusing on people who use alts for ill intent (Stealing your info/ Lindens, harassment, stalking etc) and just things to keep an eye on if you feel someone you may have had a bad experience is trying to come back into your life as a stranger.
Here are some things to keep an eye on if you suspect someone may be a scammer or stalker:

  • Pay attention to the usernames. Scammers oftentimes don't bother changing their usernames beyond a couple numbers (Example Kevin2334, Kevin1236, etc) So odds are if that name looks familiar, then its probably because it is. Also if they have a username like Blueberrygiftcard, Addamsfreebiegiver, etc, it's obviously a scammer. Content creators in SL do not have accounts named like this! if they do give out gifts its usually through there official subcrib-o-matics, Groups or inworld at their stores or Marketplaces
  • Look at the age of the profile. Scammers will only use an account for about a week before going and making a new one (usually because they've gotten banned from the popular stores, clubs, group, etc etc) So if someone is begging for L$ for something or is IMing you out of the blue claiming they found you from a group or sim and their account is only a couple days old, be weary
  • Pay attention to profile pictures. Now admittedly this is a hit or miss way to tell if someone is a scammer or someone who is using a new account to stalk you. People pay others to do their pictures for them all the time. Just keep an eye out for a sort of pattern. Is their skin the same quality of that person you used to talk to? Are the angles similar? Does the shape look close enough? Is the quality of the picture the same?

Now finding scammer accounts on social media's like FB or Twitter, for example, is a little easier, so this next list is going to be things to look out for when looking for scammers on Facebook, Avatlife, twitter, etc:

  • Pay attention to how people talk when they make a post. EVERYONE has a certain way they word things when they make a post on social media and this can be the easiest way they out themselves. If you suspect someone you had blocked or removed has added you on another account, look for mannerisms that were common to that person
  • If they have other social media links on their profile, look at those to see if they have posted anything that was the same as that person. Now I'm not talking about shared posts or memes. I'm talking about similar pictures they've taken, Product WIPS, maybe they posted a picture that you know is them or that they took.
  • Look at where the person is located. Again this one can be a hit or miss type deal but it's still worth noting. If they are from the same country then it may not be them, but if they are from the same state or even the same city, then it could be.
  • If they were a former creator and you think they are coming back on another account, then pay attention to the quality of their products. Each store has a signature quality to them, whether it be the textures, the shaping, the shadows, etc. For example Stealthic has a very distinct look, so does Doux, Blueberry, Vinyl, N-core. Just because they are under a different name, doesn't mean the quality of their work will be any different.

I feel a need to repeat this. NONE OF THESE ARE 100% CONCRETE WAYS TO CATCH SOMEONE ON A SCAMMER ACCOUNT OR SOMEONE WHO IS USING AN ACCOUNT TO STALK OR HARASS YOU, these are simply things to keep an eye out for if you think someone is not who they say they are.
All in all, just be careful who you trust. On a virtual world were people can be whoever or whatever they want, it never hurts to keep your guard up, If you know of some other things to look out for then please list them down below

Please keep the responses to this thread and to one another respectful ❤️ 

Edited by IvyLarae
Fixed the Title, changed a few words and added a few small things
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Ivy, I totally understand that this is coming from a good place, and that your intention is to help people avoid getting hurt, or scammed. And, yes, it's certainly true that alts can be used to do bad things -- to stalk or harrass or grief or scam, for instance.

But an approach that focuses upon identifying an account as an "alt," rather than being on the alert for certain behaviours by that account, is simply taking a roundabout and much less certain route to get to the same end.

In the case of scammers, like the ones currently offering free Catwa or Lelutka heads, it's much faster, easier, and more certain to note that these offers are not what legitimate SL businesses do. Don't worry about whose alt it is: just don't click the little button that gives them access to your Linden account, because that's almost never a safe thing to do.

The same goes for those who are afraid they are being stalked or harassed. If someone you don't know very very well asks for RL identifying information, or for uncertain reasons wants details about your past, or about your account -- those are the tip-offs, not whether their texts resemble someone else's. Regardless of whether or not you think they are alts, you just don't give them that information.

In other words, worry less about avoiding alts, and worry more about avoiding actions and behaviours that might lead to you being harmed or scammed. Ascertaining those is a lot more reliable than some really uncertain method that maybe identifies someone as an alt.

More generally -- and I am not directing this at you, Ivy -- I do wish people would get over this mania about alts. There is no foolproof way to identify an alt, or link it to another account, and people who are sure that they've found "the key" are invariably deluding themselves, and quite possible hurting innocent people whom they are misidentifying. I know people, right here on this forum, and elsewhere, who have been abused and harassed because someone was sure they were an alt, or had a legion of alts busy doing terrible things.

An alt is not an incarnation of evil. It's just another account. It still has a real person behind it, and what it does and says are still subject to the same kinds of judgments that we apply to anyone we meet.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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It all sounds a bit too 'doxxing/stalky' to me. Even though there's no RL info being uncovered, of course, I find the notion of desperately trying to find out who someone is, a bit too creepy, even though I absolutely believe the intentions of the OP are good.

Me? I don't need to know. Here, ppl simply are their words. I have no inclination to try and unearth who the 'real' identity is behind a poster (even when said 'real' identity is just another poster's alt). I can't be bothered by that sleuth stuff, regardless: too much of an upkeep, and half the time I would dramatically suck at it anyway, even if I tried. Seicher Rae was posting with a cute cat-alt. I *might* have noticed it eventually, and in hindsight I can see it, because she outright told us, but the more likely scenario for me is, that I will miss 99% of such 'transitions.' And that's really an area where 'blissful ignorance' simply works for me. Makes life simpler, and it's better for the soul.

Edited by kiramanell
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48 minutes ago, Paul Hexem said:

Learn to identify scammers, not alts.

 

First of all, I want to repeat that I really like Ivy's intentions.

I regret a bit that she brought 'alts' into it, though. An 'alt' is simply a different persona to post under, for whatever reasons (supporting oneself, pile-on posts, trolling even, etc). A 'scammer' is something completely different. (And I have a hard time even figuring how they're related to alts to begin with: I reckon a scammer will simply use whatever account they made for such nefarious purposes)

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3 hours ago, IvyLarae said:

It's common knowledge that alts are a popular thing to have in Second Life. Whether it be for photography, blogging, making poses, roleplay characters, the reasons for having alternative accounts are endless, but unfortunately they aren't all created with the best of intentions. With scammers being an ever posing threat, with them finding new and sneakier ways to steal your info and accounts, it can be really hard to tell who is actually new to the platform and who has created one to clear their tracks.
I've been on the platform for a while and I have alts of my own, have friends who also have some and have encountered people who have them as well, so I wanted to share a couple things I thought would make spotting them just a little easier. Now keep in mind these are not set in stone methods to tell and of course, not everyone who falls under the things I'll tell you to pay attention to will be alts, unfortunately, there isn't a concrete way to tell, these are simply things to look out for. I am going to be focusing on people who use alts for ill intent (Stealing your info/ Lindens, harassment, stalking etc) and just things to keep an eye on if you feel someone you may have had a bad experience is trying to come back into your life as a stranger.
Here are some things to keep an eye on if you suspect someone may be an alt:

  • Pay attention to the usernames. Scammers oftentimes don't bother changing their usernames beyond a couple numbers (Example Kevin2334, Kevin1236, etc) So odds are if that name looks familiar, then its probably because it is. Also if they have a username like Blueberrygiftcard, Addamsfreebiegiver, etc, it's obviously a scammer.
  • Look at the age of the profile. Scammers will only use an account for about a week before going and making a new one (usually because they've gotten banned from the popular stores, clubs, group, etc etc) So if someone is begging for L$ for something or is IMing you out of the blue claiming they found you from a group or sim and their account is only a couple days old, be weary
  • Pay attention to profile pictures. Now admittedly this is a hit or miss way to tell if someones an alt. People pay others to do their pictures for them all the time. Just keep an eye out for a sort of pattern. Is their skin the same quality of that person you used to talk to? Are the angles similar? Does the shape look close enough? Is the quality of the picture the same?

Now finding alt accounts on social media's like FB or Twitter, for example, is a little easier, so this next list is going to be things to look out for when looking for alts on Facebook, Avatlife, twitter, etc:

  • Pay attention to how people talk when they make a post. EVERYONE has a certain way they word things when they make a post on social media and this can be the easiest way they out themselves. If you suspect someone you had blocked or removed has added you on another account, look for mannerisms that were common to that person
  • If they have other social media links on their profile, look at those to see if they have posted anything that was the same as that person. Now I'm not talking about shared posts or memes. I'm talking maybe similar pictures they've taken, Product WIPS, maybe they posted a picture that you know is them or that they took.
  • Look at where the person is located. Again this one can be a hit or miss type deal but it's still worth noting. If they are from the same country then it may not be them, but if they are from the same state or even the same city, then it could be.
  • If they were a former creator and you think they are coming back on another account, then pay attention to the quality of their products. Each store has a signature quality to them, whether it be the textures, the shaping, the shadows, etc. For example Stealthic has a very distinct look, so does Doux, Blueberry, Vinyl, N-core. Just because they are under a different name, doesn't mean the quality of their work will be any different.

I feel a need to repeat this. NONE OF THESE ARE 100% CONCRETE WAYS TO CATCH SOMEONE ON AN ALT, these are simply things to keep an eye out for if you think someone is not who they say they are.
All in all, just be careful who you trust. On a virtual world were people can be whoever or whatever they want, it never hurts to keep your guard up, If you know of some other things to look out for then please list them down below

Please keep the responses to this thread and to one another respectful ❤️ 

/me rolls eyes... if you really spend time on this you'll need a team of people to check everybody you meet... if you stand this way in SL it's much wiser to log off.

[added note.. i have 5 alts, so save your time to investigate and stalk people for getting info.]

Edited by Alwin Alcott
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46 minutes ago, kiramanell said:

It all sounds a bit too 'doxxing/stalky' to me. Even though there's no RL info being uncovered, of course,

that last is the big question, because FB will show the real profiles in search too when they found even the smallest connection between a SL and RL profile.
Not directly, but seeing friendsuggestions by FB from RL persons on the SL profile makes you think twice.
There's a very thin line in this method..

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Each of my alts is a main account in its own right. They were created as things moved on.

Because I already have mesh head and mesh body my last alt was created to make use of the free Genus head and a free mesh body. She has become her own SL account in her own right with her own personality. Nothing to do with any devious activity.

In terms of FB accounts and SL accounts I have numerous of both, of which none are actually me, so no accociation could be drawn by a normal person. If ever a Facebook SL group lottery draw comes up and they say ..state your SL username to have a chance.. then no chance. Who cares. I don't need a miniscule chance of winning something I most likely won't wear more than once to connect an FB name to an SL account.

Everywhere online I am never 'me', but real life friends know who is me in certain online circles, if I've met them in real life. Otherwise nobody needs to know.

You only ever divulge to unkowns what you're prepared to expose of yourself. Learn to keep things separate and private. It's up to you.

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The only time I’ve been upset by an alt is when someone I already knew approached me on one by means of deception such as an ex romantic interest that I had blocked or someone previously fleshed out as a stirrer of the sh8t pot.
 

 Syntax similarities, slips of tidbits impossible to otherwise know about me, & profile redundancies are good giveaways that someone is being dubious in their approaching you.

That doesn’t make someone a scammer intent on compromising your wallet or password.  Just your sanity.  

 

 

Edited by Pixie Kobichenko
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4 hours ago, IvyLarae said:

with them finding new and sneakier ways to steal your info and accounts

New? What's new? It's always the same old "enter your login data here", "I need L$ now, I pay you back tomorrow" or "giving debit permission is ok" scheme. If people are using the internet and always run in blindsighted and in complete lack of suspiciousness, perhaps they need to learn the hard way to avoid such nonsense.

And the bit about the profile pics theories was a good laugh, at best. But really, you are comparing shapes and angles used in profile pics? 

I actually question the basic assumption that scammers do have anything like a main account. More likely, all accounts they run are more or less throw-aways. Or on the meaner side: "hacked" accounts who fell for "enter your login data here".

 

Besides all that: the overall tone of the "guide" is "alts are shady, stay away from them" ... so why was there any need to bring in the comparison to designers reappearing as a different brand? If that was intended as a reference to stolen content sold on the Marketplace or so, I think it failed quite miserably. 

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Alts does not hurt people, try to scam people and harass others.

People hurt people, scam them and harass others.

Avoid those why try to do this to you, regardless if their account is 13 years old or 3 days old.

Ban them if you have land, block them, and file an abuse report if they try to scam and harm you in ways that is against the TOS.

Edited by Marianne Little
added the last sentence
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6 hours ago, IvyLarae said:

It's common knowledge that alts are a popular thing to have in Second Life. Whether it be for photography, blogging, making poses, roleplay characters, the reasons for having alternative accounts are endless, but unfortunately they aren't all created with the best of intentions. With scammers being an ever posing threat, with them finding new and sneakier ways to steal your info and accounts, it can be really hard to tell who is actually new to the platform and who has created one to clear their tracks.
I've been on the platform for a while and I have alts of my own, have friends who also have some and have encountered people who have them as well, so I wanted to share a couple things I thought would make spotting them just a little easier. Now keep in mind these are not set in stone methods to tell and of course, not everyone who falls under the things I'll tell you to pay attention to will be alts, unfortunately, there isn't a concrete way to tell, these are simply things to look out for. I am going to be focusing on people who use alts for ill intent (Stealing your info/ Lindens, harassment, stalking etc) and just things to keep an eye on if you feel someone you may have had a bad experience is trying to come back into your life as a stranger.
Here are some things to keep an eye on if you suspect someone may be an alt:

  • Pay attention to the usernames. Scammers oftentimes don't bother changing their usernames beyond a couple numbers (Example Kevin2334, Kevin1236, etc) So odds are if that name looks familiar, then its probably because it is. Also if they have a username like Blueberrygiftcard, Addamsfreebiegiver, etc, it's obviously a scammer.
  • Look at the age of the profile. Scammers will only use an account for about a week before going and making a new one (usually because they've gotten banned from the popular stores, clubs, group, etc etc) So if someone is begging for L$ for something or is IMing you out of the blue claiming they found you from a group or sim and their account is only a couple days old, be weary
  • Pay attention to profile pictures. Now admittedly this is a hit or miss way to tell if someones an alt. People pay others to do their pictures for them all the time. Just keep an eye out for a sort of pattern. Is their skin the same quality of that person you used to talk to? Are the angles similar? Does the shape look close enough? Is the quality of the picture the same?

Now finding alt accounts on social media's like FB or Twitter, for example, is a little easier, so this next list is going to be things to look out for when looking for alts on Facebook, Avatlife, twitter, etc:

  • Pay attention to how people talk when they make a post. EVERYONE has a certain way they word things when they make a post on social media and this can be the easiest way they out themselves. If you suspect someone you had blocked or removed has added you on another account, look for mannerisms that were common to that person
  • If they have other social media links on their profile, look at those to see if they have posted anything that was the same as that person. Now I'm not talking about shared posts or memes. I'm talking maybe similar pictures they've taken, Product WIPS, maybe they posted a picture that you know is them or that they took.
  • Look at where the person is located. Again this one can be a hit or miss type deal but it's still worth noting. If they are from the same country then it may not be them, but if they are from the same state or even the same city, then it could be.
  • If they were a former creator and you think they are coming back on another account, then pay attention to the quality of their products. Each store has a signature quality to them, whether it be the textures, the shaping, the shadows, etc. For example Stealthic has a very distinct look, so does Doux, Blueberry, Vinyl, N-core. Just because they are under a different name, doesn't mean the quality of their work will be any different.

I feel a need to repeat this. NONE OF THESE ARE 100% CONCRETE WAYS TO CATCH SOMEONE ON AN ALT, these are simply things to keep an eye out for if you think someone is not who they say they are.
All in all, just be careful who you trust. On a virtual world were people can be whoever or whatever they want, it never hurts to keep your guard up, If you know of some other things to look out for then please list them down below

Please keep the responses to this thread and to one another respectful ❤️ 

Your post must have taken ages to compose, with a tremendous amount of thought, and tons of consideration. You are obviously a deeply caring human being, and I admire you for your efforts. 

When I first became a resident of Second Life, I had no idea about alts, but luckily I had a little bit of commonsense.  I did once click on something that forced me to pay the wrong person - kind of like an invisible prim wrapped around an official vending machine. That could have ended a lot worse than it did, but it was a newbie rite of passage thing as far as I was concerned, and I certainly learned my lesson. Unfortunately, unless people have experience of other games/platforms before entering Second Life, they are probably more likely to fall foul of these scammers.  And sadly then they may have a negative opinion about people who have alts.

You've put the advice on here for all to see, and if it makes people think twice about something, or opens their mind a little bit, then that can only be a good thing.  

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I have to agree with the sentiment of others that the types of alt detection listed seems primarily to catch scammer alts which don't really need to be identified as alts. Finding store owner alts also doesn't seem to be that useful either. Alts can be used for a lot of good reasons as Ivy mentions but I think that there are certain types of sinister alts which haven't been addressed in this thread and perhaps some advice on detecting them is needed.

  1. The stalker's alt - If you have a person stalking you with throw away accounts but seems to know everything you are doing and everywhere you are.
  2. The bf, gf, hubby's cheatin' heart alt - If you are in a relationship and you're singing like the Righteous Brothers "You've lost that loving feeling".
  3. Any of Maddy's alts.
  4. The toxic patron alt - If you have a business and there is someone trying to ruin your reputation through a whisper campaign.
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I have occasionally wondered if so-and-so was an alt of person-x.  Or was pretty sure than new-forum-poster-b was an alt and tried to figure out who, etc.....  However, a person can go crazy spending too much time on that path.

If person-x is some sort of a$$hole, creating alts to use won't really make any difference.  Eventually the alts will prove themselves to be a$$holes also. 

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One of my alts got a new home in Belli, and I glanced over to my new neighbor to discover it was someone I had a lot of interaction with 10 years ago. I wanted to maintain the privacy of my alt with no connection to Luna, but felt that if I interacted with her as my alt she might feel I was deceiving her somehow. And I would have to pretend, and pretending is dishonest. For example, what if she told me about something in her RL I already knew about, and so I'd have to act surprised, or as if I heard this information for the first time.

I moved.

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Hi all, thanks for the feedback!

When I made this post I had posted it to Facebook first and, since it was entirely well received I didn't see the issues you all are pointing out with me calling them alts instead of Scammer accts. I've already fixed the titles but I've only been awake about 20 minutes so when I get more woke up I will go back and fix the wording of the thread.

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I have roughly a dozen or so alt accounts.  Well, to be 100% accurate, Lil is an alt account, since I had created another account prior to this one.  However, Lil is now the Main account.  

Most of my alts are used to either donate tier to my land group or they exist so that I can own multiple themes of Linden Homes.  The only time they log on is to give Lil their stipend or to do something at a Linden Home that only the true owner can do.  Lil is the only one that really gets any true amount of login time.

I also have 3 or 4 alts that are used for testing various things.  Those alts seldom ever log on.

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