I'm not the kind of person who generally worries about security or fraud. I always think, That will never happen to me. I listen to authors who are afraid their work will be stolen when they send it in and wonder how I can get that kind of confidence. They are basically saying, "My work is so good, people will want to steal it and claim it as their own." WOW! That's a statement. I know this kind of stuff does happen, but as I said--not to me.
But then. . . the other morning, I got up at 5:00 a.m. to write; and instead of writing, I spent my time dealing with an iTunes mess. Someone used my iTunes account to purchase $80 worth of video game crud. My iTunes was connected to my PayPal, and there weren't enough funds in my PayPal, so my back-up method was used to charge these items. I was LIVID. I was SICK. And I was basically watching it happen right in front of my eyes because the person just happened to be hacked into my account, while I was also on the computer. He/she had changed my address to theirs and my security question and my password. LUCKILY, everything worked out--I was reimbursed almost immediately, and now NO payment method is connected to my iTunes. (By the way, I suggest if you have an iTunes account, that you do this immediately--have nothing or an iTunes card with a low balance connected to your account--lots of people are a victim of this iTunes/PayPal fraud right now.)
Then I read an interview with a screenwriter (that will be published in the next issue of WOW!). In the article, she discusses how to protect your screenplay or play with the U.S. Copyright Office before you are submitting it. I never really thought that was important until what happened to me the other morning. Once you've had anything stolen--money, words, Facebook password, ideas--you become skeptical--and maybe that is a good thing for me. I have changed my passwords to all my accounts and made them more secure with capital letters and numbers. I have checked my privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, and my e-mail accounts. I will make a note to be careful of the kind of information I post on my blog. I will consider registering manuscripts with the copyright office, depending on what it is and where I am sending it.
Basically, I plan to be more secure in my writing life and personal life--and especially my social networking life. When I teach the social networking class for WOW! (starting September 14) , I always bring up ways to protect your privacy with social media, and I plan to do even more of this now.
How do you make sure your writing and personal lives are secure in an insecure world? Any tips to share?
Post by Margo L. Dill
photo by Sh4rp_i http://www.flickr.com/