Thursday, April 13, 2006

Identity Theft?

We talk a lot about identity theft in the pf blogging community. But what about an honest mix-up? Here's a funny article from today's Chicago Tribune.

When Chicago-area part-time professional wrestler Jon A. Stewart got an invitation to speak at a charter school fund-raiser in Utah, he was so surprised he wrote school officials back to make sure they had the right man. They assured him they did. But they didn't. Instead of the Deerfield man, school officials thought they were booking Jon Stewart, the host of TV's "The Daily Show." They uncovered the mix-up before the April 20th event and told Illinois' Stewart not to come. He said he actually felt bad for school officials, who paid all of his non-refundable transportation expenses. "My ego was not the problem here," he said.

But that got me to thinking. If a prospective employer were to google your name, would they be surprised and a bit put off by some of the hits that came up? I'm thinking less than flattering photos or remarks? Or along those same lines, does someone in your company or department share your same name? That happened to one of my friends recently. For 2 years, she kept having to redirect email, phone calls, and letters from random strangers who were really looking for her alter ego. Thankfully, the other individual eventually left the company.

P.S. I googled my own name a few weeks ago. And there are apparently a number of folks who share my name: a 21 year old college student with a blog on, a website developer, a manicurist and....a professional fighter. Yikes! Not that anyone would ever confuse me with a fighter after meeting me.


Terri W. said...

I apparently shared my maiden name with someone who did PR for ... I think it was Motorola. You had to wade through a lot of that to find stuff that was actually me. Checking with Google, it appears she doesn't work there anymore.

I have, however, lately been getting a ton of personal and professional emails for some poor schlub in Portland with the same name as me. I guess everyone assumed she just got her name I ignored the first one or two, but I've been getting so many -- and some look pretty important! -- that now I reply and let them know that I don't think I'm the droid that they are looking for.

SMB said...

I have a name that is unusual but not unique. Even stranger, there were 2 other women in my same state (Texas, at the time) with my same name. One lived in a town where I *used* to live, another lived in the same town as me. One was a pediatrician and I'd occasionally get phone calls for her; I'm not sure what the other did.

Anyone that Googled my name and "Texas" would probably be certain they had the right me; in reality, they'd have a 33.3% chance of being right.

Gigi said...

I love Wisconsin Circuit Courts. You can search for anyone and it will return anything from a traffic ticket to plaintiff or defendant in a lawsuit. We dug up so much dirt on our former teachers, it was great. My name brought up a motion for divorce when I was six. Fun stuff.