The most recent days has left me confronted with this topic of “Who do we Trust” in the Hepatitis C realm? Being in the forefront now for several years I have gotten to know and have also followed many leaders and experts in the Hep Community whom I have come to trust.
Just recently, I experienced a situation that left me feeling truly exposed and vulnerable on the social media end of technology. It dealt with the topic of generic drugs for treating Hep C. After looking into this with great detail it was exposed that I fell for what looked to be a legitimate fellow friend in the hep C community. How I came to do this and after seeing the game this person played, it is a long story. The bottom line was it was very simple and smart. (That I will give to this person.)
I will say that creating a place that people feel comfortable going to can be difficult. For myself I am highly on guard with social media, but in this situation I let my guard down. I did all the normal things before friending a new person on his social media site - looked for mutual friends and looked at this person’s profile etc. (You can tell the fake ones right away as they have no friends and no pictures.)
This is where I let my guard down. I saw this person’s profile and it was rather generic, no real good pictures etc. However, I saw many many of my friends were friends of this person, and others who were following this person. In a instant I accepted the request and that was only a month and half ago.
Yesterday I was approached by a person saying this “friend” I was skeptical about, approached them selling a generic form of hepatitis c treatment. They took a screen shot of the conversation and forwarded it to me. It clearly spelling out an illegal transaction request.
I did some more research and found that this “Friend” created a support group for these “generic” meds, and put me into this group without my knowing or approval. Doing this along with hundreds of others as well. Creating what appeared to be was a “legitimate” group for the average person who stumbled upon it.
Most alarming is that this “Friend” had lots of leaders in the community in this group and was using our names to promote this action and group. Leading others to believe that I “Kimberly Morgan Bossley” and many, many other leaders promote and endorse this product.
To anyone new in the Hepatitis Community searching out support stumbling upon this it would look to be a great place to join.
Which leads me to this... Who do we as patients and fighters of Hepatitis C trust or how do we know who to trust?
We as individuals must be more cautious on social media or anywhere. Trust only the sites that have been around for many many years such as Hep Mag, American Liver Foundation, The Bonnie Morgan Foundation for HCV, Donate Life (and I am sure many others as well).
Trust your instinct...if something looks strange yet others are in it...ask these other people privately who are in the group to see if they truly endorse this group etc. You will find out quickly if they do or do not. Don’t just approve it without truly doing some research on your own. With scams going on, those of us on the forefront are very vulnerable to such actions, and our names are being used to endorse products, scams etc. without our permission or knowledge.
We are here to support you, encourage you but through the correct and safe channels not through scams and things that could harm you.
When in doubt ASK..
Remember.... We are in this together “Not without a FIGHT!~HCV~(c)” Together WE are STRONG!
Kimberly Morgan Bossley