How not being a hacker made me more popular

NotHacker

Read my childhood experience with bullying: Beating a bully with words.

The Hoax

My legend as a hacker began with a simple Facebook (FB) message from my cousin. She had received this message (see below) from one of her FB friends in her inbox:

“Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept friendship request from Andrea Wilson. She is a hacker and has the system connected to your Facebook account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it. Thanks. Forwarded as received.”

My cousin sent the message to me because 1) she knows I am not a hacker and 2) she knows I’ve been dealing with a cyberbully for six months.

Whenever I see an odd post online or receive a weird message in my inbox, I look up the information on Snopes. Sure enough, Snopes has this message (my name is one of many) listed as a hoax.

  • Claim: Accepting a friend request from a stranger will provide hackers with access to your computer and online accounts.
  • Rating: FALSE!
  • Origin: The examples reproduced above are multiple variants of a long-running hoax, one which warns readers not to allow contact from a particular person or group because dire consequences will result. The basic form of these hoax warnings is typically drawn from the following template:
  • Do not {read / open / respond to / join}
  • an {e-mail / text message / friend request / }
  • sent by {real name / e-mail address / screen name}!
  • If you do, {you / your computer / your Facebook account / everyone on your contact list / your children}
  • will be in danger of falling victim to a {serial killer / computer virus / hacker / predator}.

Read the full article FACT CHECK: Social Media Hacker Warning.

My post

After I confirmed my name was listed in the Snopes article of a known hoax, I wanted to let my Facebook fans know. I wanted to get in front of the issue. I thought telling people about the situation would alleviate any potential concerns. I had no idea that one post would continue to perpetuate the rumor and increase my popularity online.

AWW Facebook post
March 20, 2018 results

The reaction

With people commenting from Africa, Europe, and Asia, I feel like I’m on a world tour with none of the perks. When necessary, I replied to people’s comments because I have nothing to hide.

Here is a small sample of the different types of comments I have received upon exposing the myth and explaining what happened. While I have eliminated people’s names or replaced their names with initials to protect their identities, I have not corrected any spelling, punctuation, or grammar mistakes from their comments (though I wanted to!).

Questioners

Questioners ask questions. They seek the truth. They want to know your real identity. Often, they are confused by conflicting rumors.

  • Iv just read it as well all the ways from ireland .there are so many with ure name i dont know who to believe
  • Iam From Uganda,i Have Just Recieved Awarning Message That You Are Hacker.
  • …what’s up with this message about you being a hacker am getting really confused
  • pls I just received a message claimed that u are a hacker and I will like to know more from u. who are u? and what is ur real identity
  • I just received one on my messenger, and she’s been great Liberal friends on my FB. She asked me to send out mess messenger to my Liberal friends. But I’m glad I’ve decided to see your profile first and went on Snopes.com. You say it’s a Hoax, but how is it that your name is involved in this story?
  • Who are you really ?how does this information and strange message come on our mobile phones
  • i just recieved a message saying you are an acct hacker………..please is that true it is spreading across Africa and specially in Nigeria as chat message
  • What is the profile details for this profile “Andrea Wilson”
  • Why all this rumors that you do hack?
  • I received a message that you’re a hacker..!!???
  • Im being warned about you
  • Sorry don’t trust u

Meanies

Meanies don’t care. They use the rumor as an excuse to express their anger. Their reactions may range from sarcasm to vindictiveness. They are the assholes of the Internet.

  • You are a hacker Bitch
  • DONT HACK ME!!!
  • Well kiss my ass I don’t belive it another scammer
  • Me: Honey, I’m not going to kiss your ass. GOOGLE me. I’m a writer, career coach & patient advocate. I help people. Look it up on Snopes. Do your homework dude. This ridiculous hoax is affecting ALL Andrea Wilson’s across America.

Tattletales

Tattletales mean well. They have good intentions. They rat out the people who told them about the rumor (though that information does not help me). Sometimes, they tag the person who told them.

  • I Receive In My Messenger Not Accept Andrea Wilson is Hacker, , One BG Send Me
  • WG sent it to me
  • So its just a fake message. Its spread allover African (from) AA from south sudan

Apologists

Apologists apologize for forwarding the message. They say they are sorry for reposting the rumor without verifying its truthfulness. Due to their guilt, they sometimes become Supporters.

  • Please accept my apologies. Cause I also rumoured the news
  • I should have checked this out before I put my message on Facebook. Andrea I am profoundly sorry
  • Sorry. I got the message without checking your posts I also Forwarded it. Am sorry

Rationalists

Rationalists use logic. They verify before reposting by doing research. They examine the evidence and draw logical conclusions. My favorite Rationalist response was, “There’s more than one Andrea Wilson.” (Me: Hell, yeah, there is.)

  • I just got a message saying hacker. I like to go to resources before I share false information. i am so glad I looked you up before I shared false information.
  • I recieved the same message…did not foreward..but it was sent from my best friend and obviously she fell for it..i will post on my fb that the message is beaucoup crap..all the best from northern Canada..hope this is resolved for you soon
  • I just got the message too… just an FYI. I’ve learned to look into things before reposting. I’m sorry for your grief- but by the grace of God it could have just as easily been me.
  • I received that massage to there so mny Andrea Wilson in this world.
  • I got the message from one of my Facebook Friend but I didn’t share it because people on the net are sharing all sort of false news about people so its when I decide to look it up I realize that its a fraud… Hope you’re ok
  • I just got a message now saying dat u are a bad hacker so i decide to confirm . Seriously people are really jobless diz dayz
  • I have just received the msg that you are a hacker, I decided to search you and have a bit of an idea. I’m advised to forward to my contacts. Not gonna do that anyway.
  • After reading many of these posts I’m dumbfounded at how many stupid people have commented. Half of you people would do the Nigerian money scam.
  • I also decided to verify the information before i spread the information as i have received the information about you being a hacker as well. Hope you are okay xx
  • I jus received a msg saying that this Person is a hacker but i tend to ignore it cause there is more than one Andrea Wilson…. n i have previously received this so I ain’t gonna bother.. wen i asked the person if they have a pic of the person pro he started cursing me n stuff
  • Don’t know how this bullsh#t end up in Fiji
  • I to just received this message. I always look up the person. I’m sorry that your going through this. To the person who’s doing this.. Get a freaking life you Weirdo!!
  • People do strange things

Supporters

Supporters believe you. They may have started as Questioners and/or as Rationalists, but ultimately, Supporters believe you. They defend you. They realize the same thing could easily happen to them.

  • This is sad iam sorry this is happening to you….. Lord reveal the identity of this prankster and see to it that he/She reap what they sow lord please help Andrea Wilson to continue to reclaim her identity and protect her and us all from the evil that lurks around us give us discernment lord we your children need your protection showup and showout increase our faith in you in Jesus name AMEN
  • I just got another message that your a hacker lol lol.i can’t believe this is still going around.i feel so bad for you for having to deal with this.
  • I got about 10 messages in a row. I always check. Respond back to them with your screenshot regarding bulling. Then posted this on my FB Page. The best of luck to you.
  • (From another Andrea Wilson): This is really beginning to get on my nerves as I am an Andrea Wilson and the amount of people contacting me about this is unreal ! How can this b removed or stopped pls ??
  • I can’t believe this rumor is still spreading wow that is so sad.
  • Just received a message as well. I didn’t share but warned my friends it’s a hoax.
  • Wow I really got scared before but now I think i believe u since u telling d truth
  • So it seems like it’s gonna be living it’s own life now, slowly creeping along the keyboards of fools : D I got it from India, where it’s quite the hit! Just ignore it, bullies always hate it when you do that. Also free marketing yo! Best wishes from Estonia
  • I just received a message about this but, I didn’t share.. I prefer to check it out first before I spread a rumor that may harm the person or persons the rumor is about.. have a nice day, I pray the cyber bully is either stopped or they get a life and leave yours alone.
  • May diz year b a year of exceeding grace to ur life nd ur family Amen …… Keep calm no peace 4d wicked ( pranker)…. Smile
  • Good luck getting these fools off ur back chick ridiculous
  • Ill share this message and tell people whats up
  • Just got it. Deleted and shared this post.
  • I’m chilled. Thank you for letting us know.

The funniest conversation

The funniest ‘conversation’ I had was with a meanie I’ll call PS (his initials). The best part was his comments were so ridiculous, my supporters not only backed me up, but also directly addressed him with their comments. Check it out.

PS: You are tho (a hacker) I just received idk how many messages and this Snopes link is definitely wrong I have seen many people do this I have taken coding classes and use to run with some black hat hackers in highschool so the fact you are this adamant against makes me suspicious

Me: Dude, I don’t even know how to code. I wouldn’t know how to find the ‘dark net’ if someone gave me a guide book.

PS: The fact you know of the dark net doesn’t help your case

Me: You’re funny. I am knowledgeable because I read every day. Knowledge does not equal culpability. For example, I know the side effects of marijuana, but I have never once smoked pot. Never.

RK (Supporter): How do you get to the dark net

ME > RK: If you know the way, let us know! Ha.

TP (Supporter) > PS: Deep web* it’s only the dark web if your a drug dealer or pedo bear js

JM (Supporter) > PS: Black hat hackers. Hilarious. Your 12 bro.

SEV (Supporter) > PS: I’m pretty sure anyone that owns a computer knows what the dark web is digital age dude.. I bet even my 11 year old brother knows what it is lol

Me > SEV: Thank you!

GK (Supporter) > PS: PS, if that is your real name, well, I suggest you go back to your “coding class” instructors and maybe write to Snopes and tell them they are WRONG. I am sure they will enjoy that. Maybe you are the guy who started this mess and just don’t want your game shut down. I think that is the problem. You admit to running with “black hat” hackers and if I recall correctly, everyone I ever have met says that who you run with is who you are.

GK (Supporter) > PS: how many Andrea Wilson Woods do you think are out there? One? LMAO

Me > GK: I would give a toe to figure out who started this mess. Sigh …

GK (Supporter): I am sad that this happened to you. It is something that can happen to anyone and if you are in business then it can mess things up quickly and badly.

Me > GK: Thank you GK. It is messing things up. I’m so frustrated.


My response

As of March 21, the original post has reached over 11,000 people.

It has received:

  • 565 Clicks
  • 179 Shares
  • 155 Comments

I know I should ignore this bully, but now she is affecting my business. Last week, a potential client canceled a discovery call with me because she thinks I’m a hacker. This is not paranoia or speculation on my part — she wrote me an email. When I thought about it, my cancellation/no show rate seems higher than it was in the past (20%). When I crunched the numbers, I was stunned: 50% of the people who book calls with me either cancel or do not show up.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my cancellation/no show rate has more than doubled since my cyberbully started her tirade last fall. I couldn’t take it anymore. So I sent her a message. Check out my Facebook live video. Please help it go viral by sharing it. Let’s send a message that cyberbullying is unacceptable.

For my readers, if you receive any message online whatsoever, I recommend the Russian proverb “Doveryai, no proveryaithat is often credited to President Ronald Reagan. Trust but verify.

In BLISSS,

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Originally published at Andrea Wilson Woods.