What’s in a name?

21 April in Articles

Whenever you go online, one of the most interesting decisions you have to take is whether to stay anonymous. For some purposes in a forum or wiki, you may decide that using a nickname is the safest and best way to travel. That way, you are free to contribute and not worry if you say something foolish (or worse, libellous). In other situations, you are expected to give your real world name. This may be because you are an “expert” and expected to give your opinion or it may be required for other social or commercial reasons.

In sites like Facebook where you are looking for networking opportunities, being more honest about who you are is part of the price you pay for useful contacts. In Morocco recently, Fouad Mourtada was sentenced to three years imprisonment for opening an account in the name of Prince Moulay Rachid. Some governments and royalty are prone to anger if people take their names. In fact, Mourtada was released after serving only forty-three days of the sentence. Human rights activists from around the world put pressure on their governments to intervene. Morocco decided to accept a moderate line, but wherever you live, your real world names and usernames/nicknames are all part of what makes up an identity.

Identity theft is increasingly an issue in the world of online gaming. More people are opening accounts at online casinos in the names of celebrities. This is not so much a problem. The fact that you may claim to be Tom Cruise is unlikely to deceive the casino into giving you any benefits if all you do is to play the free online blackjack. In any event, there is a routine for checking “high profile” names and, after time, most have been found to be fake.

More interesting are those who register using the names of well-known high-rollers, presumably in the hope that they will be comped or receive other benefits by joining the casino. Suppose you research Sam Vaughn and get his real world address. You now complete the online application with an email address of svaughn@gmail/yahoo/etc. Most of the online casino operators deny ever being deceived, but potential fraudsters seem to keep on trying.

Others are using famous nicknames like blackjack-king. This is rather like getting a customised licence plate for your car. It adds that personal touch to what may be an otherwise ordinary vehicle. Curiously, a new trade in these names is springing up in gaming forums with people prepared to pay increasingly large sums for the right to use these names on particular gaming sites. Thus, the identity of the person behind a gold-plated nick may change without the casino being aware of it.

Again, the online casinos are not worried because most of the people play for fun using the free online blackjack games. The casinos collect and verify credit card details and that includes the billing address, so the risk of deception once payment is involved is slight. Nevertheless, casinos are increasingly introducing monitoring systems to check all “famous” names.

21 April Articles

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