If you’re looking for a sneaky way to get your site, product, or service in front of the public eye, you may want to think twice before trying to hack into someone’s email account. Although it may seem like a clever plan at first glance, you could be putting yourself and your business at risk. Bikernet news is reporting that a group of scammers made the mistake of hacking into the email accounts for both Canadian journalist, Ron Liepert, and his wife and ended up facing serious jail time for their actions.
As a journalist, it is your job to uncover the truth and deliver information to the public. But if you keep doing so with bad information, you’re not only hurting yourself and misleading your audience, but also other journalists who could be doing their jobs much better. So before you start asking them for their sources or throwing out baseless accusations that may make people dox themselves for the sake of journalism, take a step back.
According to Bikernet, Liepert was an outspoken leader in the fight against Alberta’s controversial anti-bikie laws in 2009. These laws are commonly referred to as “the anti-biker bill” or “the biker bill.” The bill was designed to deter motorcycle clubs from doing business within Alberta by imposing strict new rules around activities like meeting for meals and other social events.
Critics of the law say that it unfairly targets motorcycle clubs by treating them differently than other social groups and businesses. Some have even been so bold as to call the new bill “anti-biker” since the majority of motorcycle clubs in Alberta are not criminal organizations.
In October 2009, the Canadian Motorcycle Rights Organization (CMRO) took part in an organized meeting through which they would voice their opposition to the anti-biker bill. The CMRO is a national coalition of motorcycle rights organizations and businesses. It was formed in 2007 to help fight against laws that could affect members of Canada’s biker community negatively.
1. The Risks:
It’s always a bad idea to mess with journalists. If you do decide to harass a journalist, there’s no telling what the repercussions could be. You could be going up against some of the best security available in Canada. There are countless examples of people being harassed for exposing or speaking out against things that the government or powerful corporations don’t want publicized.
2. The Consequences:
Liepert and his wife were facing big problems when he got tagged by online scammers in December 2012. The scammers learned his home address, birth date and other sensitive personal information from his online accounts and used it to hack into various email accounts. They then sent Liepert a message saying that he had won an anonymous prize of $15,000 for being an “undercover journalist” on the side.
Liepert thought the message was legitimate until the hackers sent him a second email that stated that the first one was a hoax and threatened to release an embarrassing video of him if he didn’t pay up. Liepert had no choice but to contact authorities when he realized what was going on. The police quickly traced the email addresses back to three individuals who were using them to send scam messages across Canada.
3. The Takeaway:
Reporters calling for more transparency have found themselves targeted with everything from smear campaigns to threats of physical violence by those who don’t want their dirty laundry aired out for everyone to see. The best way to avoid these types of situations is to be careful with what information you give to people online and be sure that you’re not giving out any personal information that could hurt your business or your safety.
4. The Moral:
When the CMRO planned its 2009 rally against anti-bikie laws in Alberta, it had no idea that someone might hack into its email account and use it for their own nefarious purposes. Although Liepert may not have been doing anything illegal, he was exposing himself and his business on the internet by voicing his opinion on a controversial subject that was highly publicized by other media outlets. In addition, he unknowingly sent his information to criminals who then used it in a scam against him.
5. Always Be Investigating:
One of the biggest benefits of being a journalist is that you can use your talents and resources to investigate things that are happening in the world. If you’re looking to take advantage of this, there are things you should always be checking into. These include social media accounts and forums where people do business or trade information on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to look into online review sites about companies and products so that if someone starts spreading negative comments about them, you’ll know what’s going on before it goes too far.