Identity theft has taken our nation by storm, instilling fear in the minds of people across the country. Integrity theft can surface in many forms; however, men in southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts have recently been struck with a particularly harsh form. Websites claiming to protect prostitutes from clients who don’t pay and/or threaten and abuse their escorts gather information from a multitude of sources regarding prominent and wealthy men. Subsequently, the names of the men are posted on a website, along with other personal information, falsely accusing them of participating in escort services. The men listed on the site then promptly receive a message, typically from a fictional attorney, offering to clear their name from the site for a hefty price.
Although the effects of identity theft can be devastating, safeguards are becoming increasingly available and sophisticated in detecting and/or preventing it. Most importantly, the fallout from this type of theft can, with effort, be restored. In contrast, one who has fallen victim to “integrity theft” may never recover. Even more frightening, there is no precautionary measure that can be taken to combat an attack on one’s reputation; nor is there any department, bureau, or credit agency to notify a victim that a wrong has been committed.
Integrity theft victims, undoubtedly, feel compelled to cooperate with the scammer hoping their names will be cleared and the damages to their personal integrity and reputation will be mitigated. Although tempting, legal action can be taken and one’s reputation can be exonerated. The first amendment right to free speech is to be balanced with libelous and slanderous attacks to one’s reputation. Moreover, such a scam can be classified as extortion or blackmail. If you are the victim of an attack on your integrity and reputation, legal action is available and do not be scammed by paying money to the perpetrators.
For more information, contact Attorney Mike Fontaine