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The Power of Money, Endorsement and Identity Theft: Jeremy Schoemaker vs. Google Money Tree Case

IdentityJeremy Schoemaker, known for his is one of the authoritative bloggers on the Net today. His company and personal branding is so powerful, that every marketer wants to capitalise on them – even doing it illegally.

This is a classic case of identity theft for the purpose of making more money through the power of endorsement.

The case study

One of Jeremy Schoemaker’s favourite photos is him holding a cheque of a large sum – thanks to his successful make money online business ventures.

Unfortunately for him, this photo is allegedly used by an advertiser to promote Google Money Tree, a ‘system’ to make money online through Google, which later found to be a scam.

Stolen identity to promote a scam program

That’s where the problem lies: Unauthorised use of images to endorse a product without any permissions is already considered illegal and unethical. In this case, the image is used to scam people.

The impact toward Jeremy’s brand images is devastating: People assume he endorses the Google Money Tree, so that many people join the program simply due to the fact that Jeremy, the Shoemoney, ‘endorses’ the system. When the system is deemed to be a scam, so does Jeremy!

He is, of course, not happy with the stolen identity and false endorsement.

Endorsement and mind game: Why advertisers pay big bucks (some steal endorsees’ property as freebies) to get ‘celebrities’ to endorse their products.

Although Jeremy Schoemaker is not your typical celebrities – he is one of the blogging celebrities that is made famous for his financial achievement through blogging and building businesses surrounding it.

The main reason advertisers splash a large sum of money on endorsers that always are public figure is this: to get into prospects’ mind.

Jeremy is a public figure – he build his business and personal branding relentlessly. In blogging world, Jeremy Schoemaker means make money online, blogging celebrity, and branding powerhouse.

Many advertisers want to touch the corner of Jeremy’s robe so that Jeremy’s positive attributes, such as charisma, authority, mindset, and knowledge, are transferred to their products, or at least related to their products.

This way, advertisers get into prospects mind, by saying “Jeremy uses this system to make money,” “Jeremy believe this product is excellent,” and any other assumption.

Obviously, the more authoritative your endorsees are, the stronger visual and emotional bait your product has.

How would this affect the endorsee? He/she could be related to the product, and as the product is successful, his/her image and personal branding will be enhanced, too. Of course, this also applies to the contrary.

Stolen identity that is used to scam: a devastating negative ripple effect

In his blog, Jeremy wrote a clarification post that clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the Google Money Tree scam, and indicated that he will pursue a lawsuit against the owner of Google Money Tree system.

Jeremy did the clarification to stop the negative ripple effect that could bring his businesses down altoghether. Clearing his name will take a lot of resources, including money and time.

I respect Jeremy Schoemaker and would like to look forward for a positive outcome of this.

Image by fotologic.

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity TheftAre you being paranoid?

Some people consider being paranoid is normal if they deal with anything that involves the share of personal info.

That is particularly a case in online shopping and financial service applications.

Regarding online shopping – although sometimes considered as technophobia – the fear of technological advances, including the Internet – the paranoid of stolen private information is more often reasonable than not, particularly today.

Identity theft

One of the reasons people being paranoid about anything involving the share of personal info is identity theft.

According to Wikipedia, Identity theft is basically a term used to refer to fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else.

This fraud causes damages beyond money – your reputation, both online and off line.

There are four type of identity theft, according to Wikipedia:

  • Financial identity theft: using another’s identity to obtain goods and services.
  • Criminal identity theft: posing as another when apprehended for a crime.
  • Identity cloning: using another’s information to assume his or her identity in daily life.
  • Business/commercial identity theft: using another’s business name to obtain credit.

All causing reputation damage, and most cause financial problems for the victims.

What identity thieves can do to you

Most commonly, they will use your identity to buy goods and services, as well as applying for credit.

The latter often causes severe problems, because your identity is linked to your credit report – when identity thieves apply for a credit (and of course, they will not pay when it’s due), it’s your name linked to the credit; Not paying the credit will not only cost you money, but also problems with the collection agents and ultimately, leaving ‘red marks’ in your credit report, decreasing your credit score.

Being paranoid, on lesser extent, actually helps you to deal with the risk of identity theft

Although being paranoid is obviously unhealthy, it does arguably help you being cautious is a good way to protect yourself from identity theft.

Many people who are victims of identity theft thought that it would not happen to them – unfortunately, they realise it when it strikes them.

There are ways to help you deal with identity theft, some of them available online.

Stop being paranoid, start being cautious

You can actually start a simple measure to protect yourself from identity theft – never, ever share your personal information with non-trusted and questionable third-parties, either in online shopping or financial service applications.

However, to ensure your reputation and credit report protected, you might want to consider the help of identity theft protection service providers. They are more than ready to help you protect your identity, both online and off line.

Some of the big names providing such services are Lifelock and TrustedID.

Which one is the most suitable solution for you? You can learn about Lifelock VS TrustedID from the Net.

I also suggest you to read Lifelock Reviews and other identity theft protection reviews to learn others’ experience with the service provider.

Last but not least, don’t apply for any credit cards or credit applications on sight! Managing your personal finance closely will naturally decrease the potential of identity theft.

Image by CarbonNYC.