Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tips for Safe Blogging

After blogging for just over two years now, I've heard a number of stories about bloggers being scammed, so I thought I'd share some tips for safe blogging today. Hopefully you'll see something here that could keep you safe from an online scam.

Blog friends are not always as friendly as they appear.

Miniaturists and crafters are so nice, right? Yes, most of them are, but a con artist may appear to be the sweetest person in the world, so you need always be on guard!

Here are some tips I've learned about safe blogging:

1) If it looks or feels too good to be true, it probably is. If someone desperately wants to be your friend online, and it feels like things are going really, really fast, proceed with caution. Watch out for people who build up your ego. It may feel good in the moment, but do you know their true motive? It's best to keep your  guard up until you do. How would a friend act in real life? You would probably get to know them over time, right? That is a good idea online too.

2) Remember that many people online often are not anything close to their descriptions of themselves. They may try to play on your sympathy to get your attention. There was an interesting online case called "Dave on Wheels," in which a person claiming to be a young deaf blogger with cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair was exposed as a complete hoax. Facebook estimates that of the 1 billion Facebook accounts worldwide, 14 million have been set up with malicious intent. How do you know that the blogger who you think you know is really who she says she is?

3) Pay attention to what your online friend tells you about herself. If you start seeing red flags, pay attention. Don't sweep them under the carpet. At the same time, listen to your own intuition. If a small voice inside you keeps saying things like, "I can hardly believe this is happening," or "This is too good to be true," listen to that voice. That voice is there to protect you from unscrupulous persons.

4) Be cautious with online swaps. Oh, the joy of a miniatures swap, right? Yes, they can be a lot of fun, but remember to practice caution. Whatever you send may never be reciprocated. Never invest a lot of money in these swaps. Watch out for grandiose promises from your blog friend. If your blog friend has excuses for why she can't send you a swap gift right way, slow down and reconsider sending your package. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's probably a duck, right?

Here's a possible scenario: A fellow blogger asks you to do a Christmas swap with her. You are thrilled, since you love her taste in miniatures. She promises you amazing gifts, so you invest more money than usual in special gifts and craft supplies for making her gifts. Then you invest your time making items you hope she'll like. Oh, but now she has excuses for why she won't be able to send her presents to you right way. Do you send your gifts anyway or wait until both of you are ready? Either way, if your friend is a scammer, you may never see any gifts at all, or it could be even worse.

5) Be careful about the personal information you share with others.
Your birth date, for example, is a precious piece of information that can be used to steal your identity and eventually get into your financial accounts. Guard and safe keep it, along with your full name (including middle name), mother's maiden name, birth city, etc. Once the information is out there on the web, you can't make it disappear, but it can be used without your knowledge for nefarious purposes.

OK, now it's your turn. What do you do to practice safe blogging? Have you ever been the victim of a blogging or other online scam? What would you recommend that others do to avoid the trouble you experienced? I'd love to hear your ideas on this topic in the comments. Thank you for sharing so that others may avoid having bad blogging experiences. Wishing you all fun and safe blogging! Until next time, keep it fun! xoxo Jennifer


68 comments:

  1. siempre he encontrado buena gente, afortunadamente, sólo una vez me han enviado algo inservible y una sola vez no me han mandado un intercambio...aún espero saber las razones, seguramente las habrá....

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  2. thank you, there are things there I had not thought of, sometimes you just write and not think, you have raised a few very good points,

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  3. Thank you Jennifer! Actually I have never had any problems with bolggin Friends yet. But yes, on line you can 'meet" many different people. And you are so true about being careful on those who want to be your friends as fast as it is possible. Guess we all should just use common sense on internet.:)
    Hugs

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  4. Thanks for this information Jennifer. It is very helpful. It is true that you can meet many different people, and some of them are not reliable. One should be cautious about new followers and being conscious of that not all people is good or bad. It depends on you.

    Hugs
    Kike

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  5. Gracias por el recordatorio, siempre viene bien!!!
    Besitos

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  6. Jennifer, thank you so much for this blogpost and your warnings, these are very useful! It is difficult to know who is a good person and who's not, if you can't see and meet each other! That is why I don't tell to much personal things about myself on my blog: I don't want to be a mystery for the nice people, but I do it for this reason!
    Moreover: yesterday my problem was a Blogger problem!
    Hugs, Ilona

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    1. Good thinking about not sharing too much information, Ilona! xo Jennifer

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  7. Just a few days ago a person wrote to me on my blog. The person said that I had a really nice blog and wondered if I had designed it myself. They needed someone who could help with a website. The person wrote that he / she had looked around on my blog and said that it shows that I know a lot about both miniatures and blogs. later wrote: please contact me I would really like your help.
    Then there was a link that didnt work, but then a link that went to a weird site, and then I started to think that I entered a site with a virus! It was not about miniatures on that site. So I deleted the comment immediately so no one else should happen to click on it if they are curious about if it would be a miniatyrist.

    Thanks for your tips, it can help many people so that they are not being scammed.

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    1. Hi Anna, That was a great idea about deleting the comment with the bad link so that others wouldn't be injured. Thank you for sharing that! xo Jennifer

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  8. Gracias Jennifer por tus consejos.
    Recuerdo un Swap organizado por una gran amiga en el que tuvimos la duda si el caso era real o no.
    Era demasiado dura la situación de aquella madre como para pensar que nos estaba mintiendo. Yo prefiero pensar que su situación fue demasiado dura para soportarlo y no tenia ganas de trivialidades.
    Hay ocasiones en que las compañeras han promocionando en una entrada el nacimiento de nuevos blogs, eso seria una buena medida contra los engaños.
    Cuando nos apuntamos a los swap, también se podria pedir que las demas participantes nos avalen. En nuestros blogs enseñamos los regalos enviados y los recibidos también es un aval de que cumplimos con los compromisos. Cuanta más seguridad pongamos menos engaños podran encontrarse.
    Yo quiero seguir confiando en la bondad, amistad y generosidad del ser humano; siempre huvo, hay y habra manzanas podridas pero entre todas podemos hacer que sean las minimas.
    Un abrazo y vesos para todas.

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    1. Hola Marian, You shared some great ideas for keeping people from cheating in organized online swaps--thank you! xo Jennifer

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  9. Thanks for your tips. Very useful.
    It's impossible to know a person well, especially when you can't see her.
    In blogland I met many people, almost always nice people, helpful and generous.
    Bye Faby

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  10. Hello fro Spain, interestings tips. I am lucky. I do not buy almost on line. Blogs that i visit are nice people and share with me my own hobbies. I only had a problem with a follower. He wrote rude messages... I delete him from my followers. Keep in touch

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    1. Hi Marta, Thank you for sharing your solution to a blog problem. This is a good technique to keep in mind. xo Jennifer

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  11. Thank you so much for these tips...they're important to keep in mind while interacting with people online. Some of them also apply to being part of a forum or online group...I learned that one the hard way! I think that most people are honest and kind, but the ones that aren't can really wreak havoc within their circle of influence. It's important to stay safe!

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    1. Hi Kate, Thank you for mentioning online forums and groups too. We may feel safe in a particular environment, but it isn't necessarily so. xo Jennifer

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  12. Hello Jennifer,
    thank you so much for the information. It is something most of us do not thinka bout until we get caught. You would think these people would have more to do then just cause cahos and take advantage of others.
    I just saw your past posts and I loved them. I will definitly tell Ozzy to keep a sharp eye oput for Racoons!
    Big hug,
    Giac

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  13. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for sharing those tips! You made me think a lot and I will tell my friends and family about this post. It's important to be reminded that there are evil people everywhere and that it is easy to deceive in blogland! Let's hope we never have to cross path with them!

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  14. Very enlightening tips for safe blogging! I think it is important to keep things professional online - as we cannot always intuit a persons actions.
    Thanks for the reminder!! Stay safe!! :)

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  15. Thank you for your suggestions, but unfortunately, sometimes, bad intentions are not as clear or easy to recognize ...
    Sometimes the problem is more subtle and insidious. However, I think with common sense and patience, there is a way to get rid of troublesome people, both on the internet and in "three-dimensional" life.
    Very significantly the image you have created for this post, it transmit an unusual sense of unease...
    Lovely hugs,
    Flora

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    1. Hi Flora, I totally agree with you that sometimes bad intentions are not clear or easy to recognize. The problem can be subtle yet still serious. Thank you for sharing that. It may help someone. xo Jennifer

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  16. very good that you posted about this! I think, we all have to be carfull! One can do many things oneself in order to stay protected, i suppose most important is not publish too much personal info! although all mass media keep informing people..there are so many who publish names, adresses, even phone-numbers. Up to now, i haven;t had any problems..except all those "spam" comments which i delete regularly, or "annonymous" ones..which also get deleted..whatever they are. Greetings to you and your lovely little bears!!!:)

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  17. Hi Jen, I too have had the good luck of meeting nice people. As you know, I have gone further and actually visited blog friends in their countries.

    For me, there are some things that make me comfortable with a blogger. Endorsement of this person from a few other bloggers definitely helps especially if they are friends in real life. An online friend who has a blog and who regularly blogs helps me understand and get to know her/him better. Commenting too does that.

    Blog friends are like real friends. We get along better with some, not so with others. Sometimes you get scammed even by an old real friend :):).

    But you are right about exercising caution all the time. Once I sense that things are not right, I often move away.

    Great post!

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    1. Hi Sans! I like your perspective. I especially appreciate your last point about moving away once you sense things aren't right. Sounds like a great way to operate to stay safe online! xo Jennifer

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  18. Jennifer,
    As a new blogger I really appreciate the tips and information. I am still trying to build followers & that desire could make me a possible target.

    Thanks so much!
    Lisa

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  19. I think the most important piece of advice is like Anna's comment above-use extreme caution when clicking any link left in your comments. I never visit a person's blog by a link left in their message- I always go to their blogger profile and find their blog that way. If I cannot find their blog by their profile I will usually not visit because I am afraid of links I do not recognize and getting a computer virus. Wonderful post Jennifer- I think this is helpful to beginning bloggers and experienced bloggers alike! xxxooo

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    1. That's a good reminder, Kim, about not clicking links. I never click links in emails, unless it comes from a trusted source. I'm glad for the reminder about not clicking links in people's comments too. xo Jennifer

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  20. some good tips here! it's good to be reminded of these things- i easily forget stuff like this and get carried away!

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  21. Dear Jennifer!
    So many good tips from You! Thank you!
    For those reasons you mentioned it is important to be careful.
    For me it has happened once that I won in a giveaway a wonderful price but never got it. The blog keeper had some sort of explanations why I didn`t get.. I was not the only one who didn`t get. Well I don`t care.
    Hugs
    Kikka

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  22. Grazie cara Jennifer per i tuoi consigli!kiss

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  23. Hi Jennifer. Thank you for all your good advice. I am a very naive type. I have, in principle, unlimited trust in people. So it's good for me to hear all your good advice. I have not done anything to blog safely. I would not know how to do.
    Forward I will be a little more aware. Now I follow here in the debat so I can ensure my "blog"
    I won a giveaway, where it seems a little suspicious, since I have not received it yet and she did not reply me on my mail. But it's her choice.
    I also like that there is a very good tone here in blog land. No one writes bad about others, even though there might be reasons for it.
    It is difficult. Interesting that you picked it up.
    Hugs
    Wyrna

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    1. Hi Wyrna, Interesting that you mentioned a suspicious giveaway. There are many of these "fake" giveaways, in which no prize is ever given. I've seen the same person start multiple blogs over the last two years with giveaways that never "give." Thank you for sharing. xo Jennifer

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  24. Thank you for your tips! So far nothing bad has happened to me, touch wood! Or it has and I don't know yet... However I got comments or emails like Anna did, but I just delete them, because I thought they had nothing to do with the subject of my blog.
    Geneviève

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  25. Thank you so mu8ch for sharing this Jennifer, it can be a great help for a lot of us :)

    Hugs Jollie

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  26. Jenny quello che scrivi è vero e giusto, mi trovi pienamente d'accordo, ma è sempre bene informare i nuovi amici che si affacciano per la prima volta nel mondo di blogger.
    Grazie per questo post,
    Mely

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  27. Thanks for your tips!
    I delete comments from anonym people whitch don´t write their
    name below the comment. And I also delete all comments incomming in spam.
    I think it´s important to be careful, but sometimes I wear pink glases.
    Thanks for remember to be careful.
    Greetings
    Melanie

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  28. Hi Jennifer Great tips thanks for sharing. I think its important to be as careful as you can. Some of the tips I never thought about and will be using. I am also a very trusting person so far I have won!! giveaways that I never saw and even a swap that I sent but didn't receive but most of the time it has been a wonderful experience. Unless I know a contact when I receive spam I just delete it without opening it. Also like Sans said you get to know a person who blogs regularly. I have also had the wonderful luck to meet a fantastic online friend and it was a beautiful experience. It is a sad fact that there are bad people out there but I believe that the lots of good out-way the bad. Thank you Jennifer for this great post.
    Hugs Maria

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  29. Hi Jennifer! At first..your photo is great and so perfect to this post. All what you say is true and it's very important to everybody to think these things by time to time. I been very lucky in the blog world. I hope that there's nothing too bad behind this post. -Thank you for thinking of us all!
    Hugs!

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  30. Thanks for the info. I guess most of us have hope that the people we interact with are genuine. Ive only ever had one weird comment....it looked like someone was just pasting text into the comment (very weird)..you have got to wonder why they think they need to target a miniature blog.

    When it comes to giveaways I like to see pictures on the winners site. I often message the person who I sent it to...or received it from, to see if it arrived, or to tell them I got it. Why bother having a giveaway if you don't intend to send it. Thats a bit nasty!

    Thanks for reminding us of the pros and cons of the blogging world.
    IndyPoppy

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  31. Great advice, especially for some of us new bloggers!

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  32. First of all thank you very much for the work and effort you've put into this great and helpful post. There are some good tips both in your post and in the comments and I think it's always the best thing to use your common sense. I agree with Sans! - if someone visits you regularly and comments it's a good hint that this is someone who is interested in what you're doing. And it's good not to share too much personal information in public... you know I myself prefer staying totally in the background and leaving it all up to Fluby. So I never had any problems when it came to an award with personal questions because Fluby's answer to everything and anything is strawberries... *grin*

    Hugs
    Birgit

    P.S.: Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for your last post and the picture of this one. It means a lot to me that you forced little raccoon to wear that dress and hat just to please me (LOL). I really feel honored and proud - and above all glad. Thanks a lot!

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    1. Hi Birgit, Oh yes, I forced Raccoon to wear the dress and hat--totally against his will! ;-) LOL That was my pleasure, Birgit! :-D

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. The tricky part is that sometimes people follow a blog and leave comments in order to manipulate the blogger. In reality they may want something. As Flora mentioned, it can be very subtle at first. Then eventually the blogger may realize that she's been used. I urge everyone to be on guard. Sometimes those who appear the sweetest are not so sweet after all.

      BTW, I like your method of having Fluby do the talking--that's brilliant! :-) Scammers aren't going to get very far with the word "strawberries." ;-)

      xo Jennifer

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  33. Thanks for helpful tips, so sad it has to be that way though. My friend had a nasty experience on facebook with manipulated photos and blackmail. Went right off facebook after that. As l grew up being the last generation before social medias took over our lives...l must admit l miss it a bit sometimes. Pam x

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    1. Hi Pam, Thanks for sharing your friend's experience. That is really sad, isn't it? Imagine that: manipulated photos and blackmail--wow! At least we still have blogging, but we must remain alert! xo Jennifer

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  34. Привет!
    Очень важная тема! Большое спасибо за информацию!
    Я встречала в блоге только хороших людей. Мне наверное повезло.
    Мне хочется верить, что добрых людей все-таки больше! Вы правильно говорите, что надо быть осторожным.
    Ваш Енот меня снова заставил улыбаться!
    Татьяна

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  35. Thanks for writing about this subject.

    Can I be the first to say sometimes its just a sh*tty deal with some people.

    I try to keep my circle small here in mini online land. If I offer a swap or a gift its to people I have blogged with over the last year or have proven themselves trustworthy, blog wise ;)

    I think a some of us here have been around for quite a bit and to some degree know each others blogs and swap trustworthiness :P

    "lets see who is still interested and friendly after the giveaways are done"

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  36. Thank you for this advice! Being a new blogger, I think its really scary to get involved in swaps with random people in blogland. So far, I've stuck to swapping sites, because at least there people can rate one another, which keeps people accountable.

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  37. Thanks for the tips, Jennifer! It is definitely easy to forget to be careful about things like this.

    -Baby Cat

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  38. Muchísimas gracias por tus consejos Jennifer, siempre viene bien estar avisada de estas cosas. La verdad es que yo no he topado con ningún personaje de estos y espero no tener que hacerlo. Besos

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  39. No need to worry about me, I'm an old pro at this interweb stuff I used to post on a forum that tons of people could just log on too..let me tell you that some of the things that went on there would boggle your mind. Im a very trusting soul but I do follow my instincts ..thanks for the tips

    Hugs
    Marisa :)

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  40. Gracias Jennifer por tus concejos, lamentablemente son cosas que ocurren principalmente por confiar demasiado.
    Tendré muy en cuenta tus recomendaciones.
    Millones de besos.
    Julia

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  41. Gracias Jenni, tus consejos son muy recomendables, pero no solamente para blogs, para cualquier relación por internet... (facebook, e.mail, skipe, etc,)
    Un abrazo

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  42. Hola Jennifer, agradezco este post, es muy buena idea que nos recuerdes que la red no es segura, yo soy de naturaleza confiada, pero he aprendido a medir, la verdad es que en blogger acabas conociendo más o menos a la gente, casi siempre somos los mismos los que dejamos comentarios en los mismos blogs, como una gran cuadrilla de amigos, y por esto es fácil olvidarse de que los blogs son públicos, cualquiera puede leer los comentarios y los post, acabamos escribiendo como si nos hablásemos entre amigos pero también hay muchos extraños y alguna mala gente al acecho, yo personalmente no he tenido nunca problemas y espero no tenerlos pero es necesario recordar que hay que ser prudente. Gracias Jenny.Un beso

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    1. Hi Begona, Very good points. We forget that our blogs are public and that there are people with bad intentions lurking. It feels so safe, like just a bunch of friends sharing a common interest, but we must still be careful. Thank you for sharing such excellent points! xo Jennifer

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  43. Dear Jennifer, thank you for the tips, I think they will help me with blogging:)
    Hugs, Candy:)

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  44. Dearest sweet Jen, this is such an interesting topic. Thanks so much for the tips. I've been really lucky so far on the world wide web and have not experience anything negative so far. Thanks for this reminder that we need to be careful out there. Have a beautiful sunday and love to you!

    jacqueline
    http://jqlinesocuteithurts.typepad.com/

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  45. Gracias por tus consejos, vale la pena estar atenta para no caer.
    besitos ascension

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  46. You have good points in your posting. I haven't so far come across anything unpleasant myself, but you never know. I think the best is to keep a bit aloof and as your wrote, listen to your inner voice, if it warns you. All the best Jennifer!

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  47. Thank you for helping us all stay safer. One piece of info that I see people give out that I worry about, is when they will be away from home, traveling or on vacation. I think most people think of their readers as being far away, so safe but you never know.

    I'm also careful about opening email that look like notices from blogger about comments, I always delete any that are questionable.

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    1. Hi Mary, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I totally agree with you about letting people know that you'll be on vacation. I worry about that too, when I see people doing it on their blogs. I've also heard of someone announcing a vacation and then having their home broken into. Really good addition to this post--thank you! xo Jennifer

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  48. Wow, this is a really helpful post! My Mom said I should read it. She checks all my blog posts and visitors regularly. I'm really glad I found your blog, your photo stories are SO cute!! I love writing stories too and I'm following you now :D

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  49. Scary thoughts! I have yet to have that kind of experience and hope never to run across it. Did something happen to you? Did you find out some dishonest follower/blogger? I hope not. You are such a sweetheart. I wouldn't like anyone taking advantage of you.
    hugs♥,
    Caroline

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  50. Hi Jennifer, You've attracted 849 followers in two years! Great! Congratulations! Thank you so much for the tips.
    Hugs,
    Felma

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  51. Thank you so much for this post Jennifer! I appreciate the tips, I'm still kind of a "newbie" to this blogging stuff, and your tips are most welcome and enlightening. :D Have a wonderful "mini" day!

    Many mini hugs,
    Jackie

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  52. te he dejado un premio en mi blog

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  53. Great post. It is good to be reminded that these things can happen. I have wonderful blogger friends that I have made over the last couple of years and have been fortunate. But you do have to be careful. Never a bad experience blogging but selling once I had someone from Nigaragua try to compromise me. Need to be so careful.Thanks for the post.

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  54. This is such GREAT, much needed advice! Everyone should read this!

    BTW... Thought you would think this was kind of funny. I tried to visit your blog today at work but it was blocked as "porn". Sheesh.

    toddlindsey.com

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    1. Hi Lindsey, Yeah, this is about as far from porn as you can get, huh?! :-) I'm sure that some people are disappointed that it isn't porn when they find this blog. ;-) xo Jennifer

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