Stealing Grief; Stealing Identities
The Internet opens the door to many wonderful opportunities. It allows people who are separated by continents to connect. It makes it possible for people with shared interests to find each other. For Ethan’s 7th birthday, people from around the world watched Star Wars. When we honored Ethan and John on the one year anniversary of their death, hugs were shared in Europe and the U.S.
But the Internet also provides opportunities for people with darker intentions. My family has been ridiculed in chat rooms, our photos have led to online discussions over the proper way to mourn, and most recently, my identity as Ethan’s mother was stolen.
A person claiming to be “Lisa Ethan’s Mummy” set up a memorial site for Ethan and John on a portal called GoneTooSoon. She stole content from this site and posted it on GoneTooSoon. She has also posted her own comments on GoneTooSoon while pretending to be me.
I contacted the administrators to request the removal of the sites. The administrator’s response: “Hello Lisa, obviously GTS cannot tell who the mother of this child is, or any details surrounding the individual memorial. We can remove the memorial, but it would require you sending in some proof that you are Ethan’s mother (email an attached copy of his birth certificate).I am not disputing the claim that you are his mother, however, as stated we cannot tell who is the mother and who isnt, simply based on you telling us.”
It is an absolute outrage to suffer such a painful loss and then have to PROVE your identity. It is clear that sites like Gone Too Soon need to change their administrative process in order to better weed out fakes and identity thieves before it becomes a problem for the truly bereaved. Perhaps, Gone Too Soon should ask the impersonator for proof.
Shame on them. Shame on the person pretending to be Ethan’s mother. I think our family has been through enough pain.
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