Home » Library » Be Wary of Strangers Online & Misrepresentation

Be Wary of Strangers Online & Misrepresentation

Some kind soul asked me to write a little about this topic in this editorial, so I said, “Okay!”

It’s basically this — Beware who you talk to online. Basically, be aware that some people misrepresent themselves or may try and sell you some new “treatment” for whatever ails you. One such person apparently appeared in my weekly forum a day after I hosted it and suggested a therapy or a product that wasn’t entirely appropriate. This was not endorsed by me.

I have little to no control over such forums. They are there all the time, open to whomever wants to use them, and I believe in free speech. I do not, however, have any connection or association with anyone else online, unless I specifically say so. I never would look to try and selling something to my readers unless I firmly believed in its usefulness after having first evaluated it myself.

There are a lot of people online looking to separate you from your money. Just be aware of this and be very suspicious and cautious of ever conducting any type of business transaction online. The security really isn’t there yet. And be careful about the products someone may be trying to sell you — check the product and the person out thoroughly before buying. And if the person refuses to disclose important information (such as their credentials, phone number, or valid address), then you have a red flag warning sign not to do any sort of business with that person. Be careful!

The next couple of weeks are busy central around here. At work, we will be launching our new product (speaking of products), a continuous voice dictation system on a computer for mental health professionals. SpeechWriter for Mental Health (as it’s called) is really amazing… It transcribes into words everything you speak to it. It won’t be available commercially until July, but we’re showing it at the annual convention of psychiatrists (American Psychiatric Association) in New York at the beginning of May.

What this really means though is that I may have less time to devote to updating this page as I’d like in the upcoming weeks. Look for the next good update to occur sometime in mid-May.

In the meantime, take it easy and explore the world!

From the last editorial…

Article continues below...
Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

I have launched three new mailing lists which address drastically different issues, but which I wanted to mention here. They are:

  • RESEARCH Psychology of the Internet: Research & Theory
This list is open to anyone who is interested in discussing the psychology of various on-line phenomenon, such as “flame wars,” relationships, support groups, “Internet addiction disorder,” etc. I began it to help researchers and interested individuals discuss the psychology of what goes on on-line.
  • SELFHELPLeaders in Selfhelp
This list was created to allow forum leaders, mailing list owners, and other individuals in a leadership role in mutual self-help support groups have a place to discuss issues that appear time and time again in these types of groups, such as suicidal crises, emotional support, how to handle a “flame war,” relationships, etc. It is meant only for forum leaders.
  • WEBPSYCHWebPsych Partnership
The WebPsych Partnership is a new organization recently created to help increase coordination, cooperation and communication among those in the psychological, psychiatric and mental health fields who author or maintain Web sites devoted to these topics. It offers quality guidelines for members to follow, as well an opportunity to exchange ideas and links, and discuss how to reduce redundancy of resources. Only those who host such a Web site should subscribe to this mailing list.

I hope these new mailing lists are helpful to the on-line community.

If you want the whole shi-bang of over 3,000 separate resources that have to do with psychiatry and mental health online, then you might want to visit Psych Central. It appears in the March 1996 issue of NetGuide with a 4-star rating! And it’s the largest and most comprehensive site of its kind in the world and we’re looking to build upon it in the upcoming years, acting as a super guide to mental health online. If you didn’t find what you needed here, look there next!

That’s it for this time… As always, keep in good mental health!



Be Wary of Strangers Online & Misrepresentation

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Be Wary of Strangers Online & Misrepresentation. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Nov 2018 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Nov 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.