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Tips for protecting yourself from online impersonators

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When you reach a certain level of visibility can become the prey of what are known as "trolls" and "griefers."

"They're basically people who really want to cause problems," said Brad Bogus, the president of "Speak Social," a strategic marketing firm where social media is their specialty.

Bogus said, "They can hack into your different accounts. They can create duplicate accounts."

That's something Mackenzie Kelly knows all about.

"It says official Twitter for my username. These are not official Twitter accounts for me," Kelly. 

She first noticed the Twitter impersonators two months ago.

Kelly said, "This website's called Followerwonk. It allows you to search for terms within someone's twitter bio and so something I searched for is my user name."

Being a fitness model, Mackenzie was used to the attention.

Kelly said, "Some of them do have my photo that I used to use on Twitter...and it's kind of scary."

But something like this could jeopardize her volunteer fire fighting and home security jobs.

Bogus said, "I've seen an entire business go out of business based on how they handled a Facebook problem. I mean, I've watched it happen."

She contacted Twitter and after proving her own identity, the copycat profiles were suspended one by one.

"There's only 40 remaining," Kelly said.

At its peak, you could find 79 Twitter accounts online...all claiming to be Mackenzie.

"I never thought this would happen, ever," said Kelly.

To protect yourself, Brad says you should always stop and think before tweeting. Don't post anything that is directly related to any of your personal, private information or security passwords.

"Rather than thinking of a combination of letters and numbers, make it a complicated sentence. I like to shop at farmer's markets," Bogus said.

If not, you could end up with someone else controlling your brand and reputation.

You can subscribe to social media management software to regularly run scans. Some are free, others can be pretty expensive. It would be also wise to search your name and twitter handle at least once a week.

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