If you have found my website because you have received something from "me" or about me that might seem suspicious or just plain outrageous, please keep reading.
For many years, my 48 year-old brother, Michael, who resides in the US, has created several hundred imposter/fake social media accounts, defamatory blogs with false information and e-mail addresses using my name, likeness and images. The imposter accounts appear very similar to my own name and will often use a profile photo containing an aged or modified image of myself. Also, in addition to pretending to be me, he has contacted other people and businesses using HIS name or the names of other people, sometimes actual names of people or just made-up names.
That's a good question. There isn't one particular thing that triggered this. He has a long history of drug abuse and mental illness, but that doesn't really explain his obsession with me. The time he commits to making blogs, modifying various images of me and attempting to engage with anyone he thinks might be connected to me or my family, is dangerously obsessive. I don't engage with him at all and I try to make people aware of the situation, which is about all I can do.
OK, so what sort of things should one look out for?
The imposter accounts often follow and attempt to engage with people that I know or people/businesses he thinks I might know. There are times that he will use these "fake Melissa" accounts to accuse other photographers of copyright violations whilst pretending to be me. These imposter accounts have been used for many activities, most recently include, registering me on job-seeking sites, applying for jobs, sending people to my home for various reasons, registering for on-line webinars, registering me to attend free events, registering Eventbrite "events" at my home, leaving bad reviews on various business sites in my name, commenting on blog sites and the list goes on and on. If I register for something, I'll do it over the phone. I am not applying for jobs. I am not hosting any events. I don't leave reviews.
Have you reported this to the police?
Yes. I've been saving and documenting everything since 2011ish. I have about a 300 page living document.
The authorities here AND the FBI in the US are aware. Many reports have been filed. In 2017 I was able to have a temporary restraining order granted but the judge ultimately didn't grant me a permanent one as it wasn't clear how "someone in Nashville, TN could harass someone in Australia". Yes, those were the actual words from the judge. Unfortunately the jurisdiction challenges + cyber nature of the crimes make things difficult to resolve.
This is a pretty crappy situation....
Yes, it is; however, it doesn't define me. I get out and shoot regularly, travel, spend time with my family, and focus on what I can do to make things better for others in a similar situation. Yes, I'm a photographer, but I am on a different journey at this point in my life.
Two years ago I decided to go back to school full-time, in December 2019, I finished a very intense Cert IV in Cybersecurity program with TAFE SA. I also enrolled in law school. The current legislation surrounding privacy, cyberstalking and online abuse isn't good enough.
So....now we know the situation, which accounts are legit?
ACCOUNTS: The ONLY accounts associated with my name (personal or business related) are listed below. (Note - e-mail address can be spoofed; so can phone numbers. Hover over the e-mail link to ensure it is legitimate. If you receive something suspicious from "me," please contact me directly via one of the outlets below or my mobile if you have it.)
E-MAIL CONTACT: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org