We refer to some recent comments and, especially, warnings made regarding injured worker’s use of ‘secure private’ forums in the context of our very adversarial workcover system. While our own experience with such forum(s) has shown that there are some very nasty people out there, such as private investigators and case managers who will do anything to gain access (under false pretenses) and infiltrate such forums, some injured workers are still under the belief that partaking in social networking sites, including private/secure forums is still ‘safe’ and that injured workers should not be all paranoid and fearful. Well, trust us, social networking sites are dangerous —the following lawyer’s letter highlights these dangers.
Social networking sites warning to injured workers
Let’s refer back to some of the recent comments and warnings made re the use of social networking sites, in particular secure, private forums for injured workers.
The problem is one never knows who is on here posting or browsing/snooping…
One thing for all posters to remember is to not use their own name, make up something.
Then Admin need to set up something so that only one user can have that name, re the issue with “Tony”, but how does one know for sure that those that sign up are real injured people and not snoops… Without meeting them and doing some prying no-one can be sure.
Even just checking documents isn’t a necessarily a safe way to check as its simple to copy and forge documents. Especially now they have the printed/computer generated certificates… And you wouldn’t know from a drivers licence if they were genuine. (Woowoo) See original comment here>>
…our forum is basically ready and has been for some time, however we have been pondering whether to open it BECA– USE our past 2-3 forums were INFILTRATED by people pretending to be injured workers – only to turn out at least 1 workcover case manager and at least one person who actively works for a PI firm! It is not funny to have people like that snoop in very private forums. No matter what restrictions you set up, they will eventually get in because what they often do is comment on the blog, make ‘friends’ and then request access. What can you do? How can you be 100% sure these people are the real thing?
We’re happy to open up our forum but we will have to have extreme rules, and even then we can’t be 100% sure. We also had a social club where we tried to meet with each other and guess what, the last one was cancelled because of a PI who had ‘befriended’ the group and got in even though we asked for driver’s license, workcover certificate!!! (Workcovervictim3) See original comment here>>
…it is utterly disgusting indeed and what’s worse it causes great anxiety and , understandably, paranoia amongst genuine injured folks who share more intimate/private stuff on “secure” forums. The case manager was identified with collective effort and her pathetic rambling is published on our ‘insult us’ page.
….The snooper nicknamed “Rainbows” = Case manager Allianz
Used email:Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IP address = 220.127.116.11…
As for the PI, who also got into our most secure forums and attended 1 social club meeting was caught out thanks to mainly our forum and social club ‘Captain’ (Harryrort). She was caught out because she was phoning our social club injured workers and eventually stuffed up (part of her stories). She went as far as to “make up” an entire/long and quite “credible” story (over a period of 3-6 months), seeking desperate support and what not… but she was/is working for insurance agent(s) under cover. There is not much one can do with re to (legal) and other complaints… as she “simply befriended” injured workers if you know what I mean.
In addition to that we have had a few total nutters joining our forums, threatening with (self) harm, insulting fellow injured workers, threatening exposing all forum entries publicly and one went as far as to download just about the entire forum (including names, phone numbers, email addresses, and possibly IP addresses). She was caught out via our stringent monitoring system as we could access our log files and see exactly who was doing what. But, even if you ban such a person(s), i.e. by using their IP addresses, some came back under a different name and different IP address (dynamic IPs).
We, understandably, believe that pouring your heart out on “secure” forums can be more dangerous than anything else. This is the reason we ask our commentators to always use a nickname and an alias email address and not to write about too personal stuff (stuff that can easily identify you, such as real name, great details of your circumstances/story etc.) After the ‘incidents’ on our forum(s) we warned people not to disclose personal and identifying aspects of their situation, not to contact other members directly (phone/email)…which then obviously started to defeat the purpose of ‘private’ forums where injured workers were asking for particular/specific help…
We also had set up different levels of ‘access’ to our private forums and allowed access to the most ‘private’ ones only to well known members. BUT, as highlighted, one such person (the PI) managed to convince and fool everybody and eventually (after months) was accepted as a VIP member…!
The fact that we had several “access” levels also caused upset by newly joining injured workers, who believed they were discriminated. This added a level of distrust and animosity amongst our forum members. We also decided to put a formal ‘waiting time’ to grant access to our forums (and levels) in an attempt to ‘suss out’ the genuineness of injured workers wanting to join – as you can well understand this caused serious upset to these genuine people who felt shunned, distrusted etc.
So, the moral of the story is, do not ever believe you are ‘secure’ in a ‘private & secure’ forum, nor a ‘social club’ (where you meet other injured workers). There are some very nasty people out there, who will do anything to gain ‘access’ under false pretenses. As mentioned one went as far as fabricating a ‘workcover claim’ form (as we asked for a copy at the social club meetings).
It is very very sad and very upsetting to know (first hand) of the most adversarial ‘system’ and the great lengths PIs and case manager(s) will go to INFILTRATE genuine injured workers’ forum(s) and meetings. (Workcovervictim3) See original comment here>>
Yep it is disgusting and disgraceful behaviour but why should we continue to isolate ourselves and not be able to lead real lives and really connect with each other when most of us desperately need support. There are ways and means to beat them but you are right, no system is 100% safe 100% of the time. However, enough is enough and we need to draw a line in the sand and take a stand and unite. Let’s expose that PI and that Case Manager if that is what occurred. Let’s name and shame and see how far they get working for the system when we start some reciprocal action. There is far too much valuable information and experience that is not helping the people who need it most because of the disgusting actions of a few… (Bert) See original comment here>>
I think these people should be exposed and action taken against them. Don’t let these sick morons get in the way of our rights to have a life and support system. The PI should have his licence revoked and the Case Manager should be sacked! It is difficult enough to try to have a life as it is with what they really get up to but this sort of action could definietely be deemed stalking and harassment. It certainly breaches any VWA Policy for the roles of both people. This should have been splashed on the front page of the newspaper. This kind of behaviour CAN NOT be tolerated. Not having a forum bc we are all paranoid and fearful of what they might do to us is giving them exactly what they want. Furk them, who the hell do they think they are??? (Bert) See original comment here>>
@Bert & Others advocating for the secure forum to be reinstated!!!!
WCV is totally Correct in what she has said!.
As a long term and Trusted Member of the site It totally shits me that there are stains on the underpants of life!!!!!!!! That try to infiltrate the Site By any means possible So we don’t tend to trust to many people because any Parasite can hide behind a Keyboard.
Which is a real SHAME Because thats what the site is all about just trying to help poor injured sods though this sick perverted system that is supposed to HELP NOT HINDER!!!!!!
As WCV has said we have had are fair share of NUTTERS who if Don’t get there way Insult and Degrade the very people trying to help them.
But you can only help them that want Help themselves Plus the Hackers WorkShit Insurers. Not to mention the Famous Bi Sexual PI.
As WCV Says these pricks are lower than a snake arse.
And as WCV and the others who keep this magnificent site Up&Running Just don’t Want Need Or Should have to put up with the Bullshit.and then Madam Zena Or Captain Harry have to have some very stern and robust words with these lunatics and Johnny Rotten has to Mow them down in the Karma Bus which is Never pleasant.
It Would Be fantastic to have the forum up again with Dave in his G banger And PUGS Qldlander Staystrong Fuck CGU and others who treated it as it should be like the Social Club a place to meet chat laugh cry and support one another
But a lot of us are. in the middle of legal shit and learn who to trust and who not to.
Sorry to be so blunt but that is just the way it is. (Harryrort) See original comment here>>
Particularly in cases where an injured worker files a lawsuit (i.e. serious injury certificate, common law damages claim, any form of legal proceedings), the defense (lawyers, PIs etc) insurance companies hunt these injured workers down on the internet like criminals.
The injured workers’ fun, fellowship, and joy of connecting with others through for example Facebook and Twitter; is instantly smashed to pieces when they find out they are being spied on.
For those who still don’t believe social networking sites, including ‘private, secure’ forums are as dangerous as we claim, here is a warning letter written by a lawyer highlighting these real dangers. This lawyer sends this warning letter to all his/her clients (injured workers) and asks them to sign the letter.
Social networking warning letter
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES
Dear Client (= Injured Worker):
If you belong to a public social networking account such as FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Forum, Google , etc., we STRONGLY recommend that you close it until your case is completely over.
If you choose not to close your accounts, we warn you to use great caution.
Whatever you write or post, or have written or posted, will probably fall into the hands of the defense lawyers (=lawyers who work for the workcover authority/insurance) or [workcover] insurance company.
It is now standard practice for them to run computer searches and investigations to obtain information about your personal life. They will try to obtain it without your knowledge or permission.
Increasingly, and in some cases, they will demand that you provide them with your account passwords. They may also ask the court to order release of your password information.
These sites are open to the public. The law is unclear if or to what extent privacy laws apply.
Our best advice is that you take down your sites until your case is over.
We understand you may decide to keep your site(s). If so, we make the following specific recommendations:
- Allow anyone to become a “friend” on a website like Facebook (or forum) unless you are absolutely sure you know that person.
- Post any photographs or video of yourself (or enable others to “tag” you)
- Write or disclose anything about your personal life that you would be embarrassed to have a defense lawyer use against you in front of a judge and/or jury
- Send e-mails regarding your case to anyone except your lawyer(s)
- Send texts regarding your case to anyone except your lawyer(s)
- Enter (workcover) insurance websites
- Participate in forums, chat-rooms, or message boards
We have seen an increase in electronic surveillance of these types of accounts and sites by [workcover] insurance companies, investigators, and defense lawyers.
They hope to discover information to embarrass, humiliate or hurt you. They will look for pictures or comments by you or your friends that they can take out of context to prove that your injury is exaggerated or false.
We have seen innocent, harmless joking between private “Friends,” used and distorted by [workcover] insurance companies to try to convince a judge and jury that a plaintiff is dishonest.
Be aware that the insurance companies may even ask the court to order release of all information contained within your home computers and laptop hard drives regarding the issues we have discussed above.
We have seen insurance companies subpoena cell phone records to obtain transcripts from texting. We have seen them subpoena Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites.
Finally, [our law firm] and its staff members do use social media. Our policy is not to “friend” our clients (=injured workers) until the legal case has concluded. This is because we are in an Lawyer-Client relationship with you and need to establish clear boundaries to protect this relationship for so long as your case is active.
[If you have any questions or concerns about this, do not hesitate to contact our office.]
Very truly yours,
I have read this letter and understand that it is important for my case to follow my lawyer’s advice and take down my social network sites. I understand that if I choose to keep my sites, I must not post anything on them that may be used against me. I also understand that I should not email or text anyone about this case other than my lawyers.
Client [Name and signature]
Participating on our site— aworkcovervictimsdiary
As highlighted on our Comment Policy, as well as on our Connect page, and Disclaimer,while we strongly encourage injured/ill workers to comment on posts, articles, or share their stories, we repeatedly warn all injured workers to use a nickname (and not your real name) and to use an alias email address (one created for the purpose) or even a fake email address. This is so that you can protect your identity and remain anonymous within the context of our most adversarial workcover system (snooping, and even hacking). By the way, we have been told by a lawyer who knows a defense lawyer that workcover insurers ROUTINELY download injured workers’ Facebook sites, as to ‘preserve’ the ‘evidence’ should it be altered later!
We also ask all injured workers who comment or share their stories to do so in a way that they cannot be identified in the real world. That is, do not write anything that could potentially identify you (e.g details of your accident, names of workplace, doctor(s), case manager, dates etc.), consider writing in third party style (a friend of mine…) or even switch gender.
There is also the very reason why we long abandoned our Facebook site (not that we have anything to hide but we do not want injured workers to connect with us or even ‘like’ us as it exposes their own Facebook pages!).
And, have you thought about the reason why we have stated in our ‘Disclaimer’ that:
Names of injured workers, dates, injuries or images of injured people may not reflect current and/or accurate information and may not be relied upon as evidence in a court of law. Any information provided by any injured worker is to be considered non factual and, again, may not be relied upon in a court of law.
Saying all that, we encourage all injured workers to contribute to aworkcovervictimsdiary, bearing in mind to follow the above warnings and tips – use a nickname and an alias (or fake) email address and do not write in a way that could potentially identify you in the real world.
Ever thought why do we take the time and effort to search out our published stories and experiences about Workers Compensation from all around the country? Simply put, we want you to understand that this workcover (aka work-over!) epidemic is a national problem. Workcover insurers (and employers) will simply stoop to the lowest of levels to try to beat an injured worker out of his/her lawfully mandated and guaranteed benefits.
Workcover insurers and employers lose sight of the fact that this safety net was created to catch occupationally injured workers and assist them back to productivity or help them find another vocation (job) where they can support their families once again.
Understand the reality; workcover is no longer about taking care of the injuries of injured workers and getting them back to work as it is supposed to be, it’s about money and power and who has it and who uses it to influence state legislators to do their bidding.
It’s about those who don’t think twice about convoluting and bastardising this system to meet their goals. It’s about unfeeling, uncaring corporate entities who care about only one thing; their financial bottom line.
[Post by Workcovervictim and Workcovervictim3]