5/28/2014 10:12:00 AM Reader angry about unauthorized facebook page
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been slow to participate in any social media activity. I have not joined any websites because I don't feel comfortable with them. Plus, I figure I am too old to be doing what the kids are doing. Anyway, I learned the other day that someone -- I don't know who -- made a Facebook page with my face and name on it and started inviting people to be my friend, only it wasn't me. This person clearly knows me because he invited quite a few people I know personally to "friend" him. I learned from one of the people who thought it was suspicious that I would have made a Facebook page. Long story short, he has now accumulated hundreds of Facebook friends as me. I can't access the page because it wasn't made by me. I don't know what to do. I feel so violated. I haven't been able to reach the person to shut it down. Is it possible that this person can get away with identity theft like this? Can I stop it? -- Violated, Westchester, New York
DEAR VIOLATED: You are right that this is a form of identity theft. You have every right to feel bad about it. The good news is that you can do something about it. You can contact Facebook directly in writing and explain your situation. Provide proof of your identity and an explanation of what happened in detail. Ask for the page to be taken down. Alert your actual friends who you know have "friended" this imposter. If for any reason Facebook does not respond within a few days' time or at all, contact your local police to ask for support.
You might want to sign up for the most popular social media sites and register your name, even if you never use it. In this way, you can ward off having others claim your identity ahead of you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, I have noticed my good friend drifting away from me. She is always nice to me in school and says we'll hang out over the weekend, but when I text her for plans, she doesn't respond until late at night, if at all. I don't know what caused this change in her. I feel sad because I haven't treated her any differently. I'm scared to talk to her about it because I don't want her to see me as too needy. Do I try to save our friendship, or is it not worth it? -- Excluded, Portland, Oregon
DEAR EXCLUDED: It is reasonable for you to ask her directly what is going on. Fishing for answers can appear needy, but if you can find her at school and have a private, face-to-face conversation with her, you may be able to get a response. Ask her what happened and why she no longer wants to hang out with you. If she pretends like it's nothing, point out that you know she has been avoiding you, and if that's her choice now, so be it. But you wanted to check in before stepping back. If she refuses to answer or otherwise makes it clear that she is not going to remain close to you, step back. As much as it hurts, that will be your sign to move on.
(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)