It has recently been brought to my attention that I have an admirer out there. Someone stole my website. They even stole my name and my picture. I am mildly flattered, but I am also worried of what this could mean for clients reaching out to this site in hopes of working with me.I never imagined I would be faced with a situtation like this. Stolen identity.
The only domains I own are www.claricegomes.ca and www.claricegomesdesigns.com.
Please beware of the deceptive www.claricegomesWEBdesigns.com, which is NOT me.
How I accidentally found out someone stole my website
I was sharing a computer screen with a friend and asked her to go to my website. She started typing the address and I noticed she put in “www.claricegomesWEBdesigns.com”. I started to say, that is the incorrect domain, but before the words could leave my mouth, she hit enter and BAM! A fairly recent version of my site popped up. For a moment I was confused. And then it hit me, someone stole my website.
They changed the location from Toronto to Austin and took off all the social media links on my site. On the contact page, they left my email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, which I found puzzling. The domain is clearly different. Perhaps it was something they missed. For fun, I filled out the form, and it definitely went through to someone, just not me. I found the whole thing rather hilarious, but really I should be worried.
My thoughts on this
In this day and age, everything is online for display- ready for the taking, Doesn’t almost everything get stolen online? And yes, there are copyrights in place, but that’s only effective IF you know this is happening. Thankfully I found out. Because a close friend was referencing this link, thinking it was my website, I figured others might be fooled too. Heck, I had to pause and think about it when the site showed up. It was a carbon copy. More so, this site shows up when you Google my name. I sent Google a note and they said they would take the domain name off any searchs.
I wanted to formally put this message out there incase anyone comes across my “Clarice Gomes wannabe” website on a domain other than www.claricegomes.ca and www.claricegomesdesigns.com. Please beware. A side note, I don’t doubt for a moment that these guys have duplicated lots of other sites. I can’t imagine why anyone would do this, other than they want design work? hahaha
Has this happened to you? What course of action did you take? Please share!