Dog Twitter scammer a reminder to be cautious online

TENERIFE, SPAIN - AUGUST 18: Dog in the animal shelter of Fasnia on August 18, 2012 in Tenerife, Spain. (Photo by Agency-Animal-Pictures/Getty Images)
TENERIFE, SPAIN - AUGUST 18: Dog in the animal shelter of Fasnia on August 18, 2012 in Tenerife, Spain. (Photo by Agency-Animal-Pictures/Getty Images) /

Dog Twitter is a wonderful place. But even within the exceptionally kind confines of the community, there may be a Dog Twitter scammer or two trying to spoil the fun.

Thus, while many of the early internet rules don’t apply any longer (for example, online dating isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and getting into a stranger’s car via Lyft or Uber may be useful), some of them, like “be cautious when interacting with new people” still apply.

This particularly applies when it comes to fundraising campaigns.

While we don’t wish to get into the sordid details of what happened, as that would in some ways glorify their actions, or dignify the Dog Twitter scammer by providing the handle(s) they used, many members of the community were duped this week, either financially or emotionally.

A Dog Twitter scammer did their best to put a black eye on the community, providing an important reminder to be cautious when online.

In the words of PeytonReads the German Shepherd/Siberian Husky mix, one of the more prominent Dog Twitter spokesdogs as co-host of the their unofficial Golden Globes, it’s been “a crappy time that’s left the community very unnerved and upset.”

As a McAfee security blog post advises, an important component of online safety is keeping one’s guard up and carefully considering what information ought to be shared.

While terrific relationships can be formed through our screens, particularly in a pandemic, these usually evolve slowly over time, not within several months, and remember to trust your instincts if anything smells wrong – you never know when or where a zomb might be hiding, or where you’ll need to call in the ZSHQ (or the Ghostbusters).

When a social media friend needs help via a third-party real-world app like PayPal or GoFundMe, always make sure that this campaign or need is legitimate, either approved by an outside source like WeRateDogs or by someone personally connected who can confirm the need is real and the potential recipient is trustworthy.

Alternatively, another good way to help would be to donate dog food or cat food directly, if they are requesting assistance in feeding their pet, as we are still in a pandemic, and this is a challenge some are facing. This strategy is how Rex the TV Terrier approaches these things, which seems like a worthy response. It doesn’t have to be high-end food, either; just get something that will provide a decent amount of nutrition for the budget you can spend.

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While this has been a setback in spreading canine goodwill and for the wider Anipal Twitter community as well, it also has provided a reason to remain extra vigilant in protecting security, and the kindness and gentleness found therein will eventually return.