Things to Do When Your Website or Online Identity Gets Copied – Mega Guidebook on Duplicate Content, Plagiarism & Identity Theft

By Pradeep
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Identity Theft & Content Theft: Are they same or different?

Content theft and identity theft are two different types of online fraudulent activities that involve stealing someone else’s information, identity or digital intellectual property without their consent or knowing.

Content Theft

Content theft is a type of intellectual property theft in which someone steals and uses someone else’s content, such as blogs, videos, images, or other written content, without their permission. This can include copying and distributing content online, using copyrighted material without attribution or payment, or plagiarizing someone else’s work. Content theft can harm the creators’ financial interests and reputation, and it can violate copyright laws and lead to legal consequences.

How Content Theft Costs Business

Content theft, also known as plagiarism, can also cost businesses in a number of ways. Here are some of the ways content theft can affect a business:

1. Loss of revenue: If someone steals a site’s content and uses it to promote their own product or service, this can lead to a loss of revenue for the business. For example, if a competitor steals a business’s product descriptions, they may be able to sell similar products more easily, resulting in lost sales for the original business.

2. Damage to reputation: If a business’s content is stolen and used in a way that reflects poorly on the business, this can damage the business’s reputation.

3. Legal fees: If a business decides to take legal action against someone who has stolen their content, they may incur legal fees.

4. Time and resources: Dealing with content theft can be time-consuming and take resources away from other important tasks.

5. Impact on SEO: If a business’s content is stolen and published on other websites, this can negatively impact its search engine rankings. Search engines may see the stolen content as duplicate content, which can lower the original business’s ranking in search results.

Overall, content theft can have a significant impact on a business’s search presence, reputation, and ability to operate efficiently.

In today’s world, anyone having digital footprints or any business that has a website or runs a blog, publishes articles, or operates a magazine online will have witnessed the issue of plagiarism as a routine.

Greater the quality of information one publishes, the higher will be the probability of it being plagiarized.

Detecting stolen content is usually repurposed, and republished on other websites, personal blogs, or forums without correct attribution.  At times they are even copied verbatim.

There is no simple way to detect plagiarism in a timed fashion, and timely detection is all required to prevent any business losses. As they happen in so many forms, there are very thin lines between plagiarism and non-attributed or copied content.

What Are the Risks of Plagiarized or Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content means content that is hosted on several URLs on the web. Since the same content appears on more than one URL, search bots and crawlers can’t identify the specific URL to rank higher in search results.

What Causes Duplicate Content?

Multiple factors can result in duplicate content. Both intentional and accidental.

Intentionally copied content can be done by competitors and scammers to hurt your website’s rankings.

Accidental is when other people cite or take clues from your content but fail to provide proper attribution which again confuses search engines and may hurt your site’s performance.

Sometimes, improper content syndication by poor or cheap quality SEO agencies for acquiring backlinks also creates copies of your content around the web thus plagiarizing unintentionally.

How Does Duplicate Content Affect SEO? How Much Duplicate Content is Acceptable SEO?

While in 2023, Google algorithm has evolved a lot to understand and sort content much better than a few years back.  There is no full proof way to ensure uniqueness of information and prevent plagiarism 100%. There are even talks of acceptable tolerable limits to what percentage of content over the web can be plagiarized. Disclosed by Matt Cutts once, about 25% to 30% of the web consists of duplicate content and it always will be like this. Also Google does not considers every phrase of duplicate content as potential spam, and it doesn’t lead any site to be penalized unless the copied content  intended to manipulate the search results.

As a web admin, blogger, or online business owner, the takeaway is to keep

1. In check what is being published is not repurposed material all the times

2. Keep a tab on sites which used your information and ensure that proper attribution is practiced and there must be guidelines in place for other publishers

If Google flags any content as plagiarized, it could lead to total destruction of top rankings on a set of search queries. Or even de-indexing the page from Google.

How Do I Know If a Website Content is Copied?

There are many methods and tools to keep a check for offenders who copy and republish your content without proper attribution or permission.

Few of the popular and effective ones are Google Alerts, trackback notifications, and Copyscape.

●          Google Alerts: One of the simplest and most effective tools for spotting stolen content is Google Alerts. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require any assistance. You can visit Google Alerts, insert a section of your article, specify the types of websites Google should check, and then provide the email address that will receive the results.

You can set unlimited alerts and can tweak the settings to suit you depending on whether you would like to receive notifications every day, week, or depending on when it happens.


●          Copyscape: Copyscape is an excellent alternative for websites that host a lot of content. But unlike Google Alert, it’s not entirely free. It can provide basic results. However, premium results come at a cost. As you’ll find out, they are in-depth and well worth every cent.

You only have to provide your URL, and Copyscape will do the rest. It will give you a list of every URL reposting your content and the exact portions they copied.


●          Trackback Notifications: These are notifications provided by popular platforms and hosting sites such as WordPress, Movable Type, and Drupal. They alert the webmaster and owners the instant another URL links to your content. Usually, links can indicate whether a site is reposting or copying your posts.

Google Search Console – Watch for any de-indexing signs and then run phrase search on Google.

In addition, you might also want to bookmark these other tools to aid your plagiarism checking process and There are many other free and paid duplicate content detection services available online.

How Can I Check Duplicate Content on My Website?

As far as duplicate content goes, it can be both ways. This means you also run the risk of republishing someone’s content because some niches are so saturated. To check for duplicate content, you can use Copyscape, Grammarly, SmallSEOTools, or other plagiarism checkers.

How to Get Duplicate Content Removed?

The first step to take when you notice another website copied your content is to contact the offender. Most webmasters and bloggers provide their email addresses, content details, or contact form on their websites. So simply reaching out to have them take down duplicate content may work. But it shouldn’t surprise you if many content thieves disregard your emails.

If this happens, you should consider reporting duplicate content.

How do I Report Duplicate Content on Google?

If your emails go unheeded, one of the most appropriate courses of action is to report the offender to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). You can do this using Google Webmaster Tools. This is somewhat complicated, and you may need the help of a digital marketing agency with experience handling such situations. When Google determines that the offending site copied your content, the offender will be banned from SERP.

●          Who Is Hosting This?

Another effective way to resolve this issue is to report the offender to the website hosting service, where the copied content is hosted. Information regarding the hosting service is readily available through the tool called WhoIsHostingThis. Input the offending URL into WhoIsHostingThis will provide every necessary information. Honestly, this method is more effective since most hosting services promptly remove duplicate content than website owners.

●          Take Legal Action

If everything else fails, you may have to get the law involved. This can either come as an official cease-and-desist letter to the offender’s hosting company or directly to the offender. Should the offender still fail to respond, then you can proceed and file a lawsuit. However, this can only come as your last resort since it will take up your time and resources. Therefore, it’s vital to count the cost and ensure that the damages are worth the trouble. If you’re in doubt, consult your SEO company first.

What Percentage of Duplicate Content is Allowed?

It’s difficult to determine the exact percentage of duplicate content allowed by Google’s algorithm. Therefore, it’s better to safeguard your site by ensuring your content is high-quality and, most importantly, original. Always remember that Google does not only prioritize unique content but its relevance to search queries. This implies that articles need to be well researched, innovative, and contain enough answers.

How Do I Prevent Stolen Content?

Sad to say that the internet is yet to provide a foolproof way to prevent others from copying your content. But, there are some measures you can take to tip the scale in your favor and make the theft of your content less likely; some of these include:

  • Maintain a clear copyright notice on your Terms of Use web page – This page informs visitors that the unauthorized use and reproduction of your content are unlawful and could result in penalties. Plus, the terms of use clarify obtaining explicit permission before using any portion of your content.
  • Disable highlighting and right clicks – If possible, consider disabling right-click on your webpages to select imagery and text and then stealing them. When you find smaller portions of your site are often copied, doing these can prevent it. It’s even possible to stop indexing your images or disabling reverse image search on your site.
  • Google search authorship – It might be best to create Google Search Authorship for those who regularly post material online. Setting up this account can serve as proof that certain content on the web initially belonged to you, especially if other sites republish your material. Any stolen content that falls under your Google Authorship will be attributed to you, and the respective ranking will also be given to your site. You find comprehensive guides that outline how to claim owners of your content.
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Business Identity Theft

Business Identity theft is a type of fraud in which website or business information, such as name, address, logo, business details, products or services information, or brand identity as a whole, is stolen and used by non-representatives or original owners for illegitimate purposes. Digital identity theft occurs when someone uses a website’s or brand’s identity to deceive users for personal gain. Identity theft can cause significant financial harm and damage to a brand or business reputation, and it might take years to recover from the effects of this. A lot of ambiguity exists as legal coverage of this type of crime varies by country.

How Digital Identity Theft Costs Business

Identity theft can cost businesses in a number of ways, including:

1. Loss of revenue: Identity theft can lead to financial losses for businesses, such as fraudulent charges, unauthorized bank transfers, or other forms of theft. These losses can add up quickly and affect a company’s revenue.

2. Damage to reputation: Identity theft can damage a business’s reputation and customers may lose trust in a business that has failed to protect its own information, which can lead to a loss of future business.

3. Legal fees and fines: If a business is found to be responsible for a data breach that leads to identity theft, it may face legal action and fines. This can be costly and time-consuming.

4. Increased security costs: Businesses may need to invest in increased security measures to prevent future breaches. These measures can be expensive and require ongoing maintenance and updates.

5. Loss of employee productivity: Dealing with a data breach can be time-consuming and distract employees from their regular work. This can cause a loss of productivity.

6. Phishing Scam: Many businesses face this threat of someone posing as them and attempting phishing on internal and external stakeholders, this is a very common risk and almost 80% of businesses and brands operating digitally have faced this at least once in their lifetime.

Identity theft can be a serious threat to businesses, and it is important for companies to take proactive measures to protect their sensitive data and business information.

What are the Ways to Prevent Identity Theft?

There are several ways to prevent identity theft and protect your website from potential security breaches. Here are some effective strategies you can implement:

1. Use SSL certificates: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates encrypt data transmitted between your website and visitors’ web browsers, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept and steal sensitive information. Install an SSL certificate on your website to protect your visitors’ personal and financial information.

2. Keep software up-to-date: Keep your website’s software, including content management systems (CMS) and plugins, up-to-date to prevent vulnerabilities and security flaws that hackers can exploit.

3. Use strong passwords: Use strong passwords for all your website logins and encourage your users to do the same. Avoid using easily guessable passwords and use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

4. Educate your employees: Educate employees about the importance of online security and how to protect their personal information. Provide clear guidelines on password security, safe browsing practices, and how to detect and report suspicious activity.

5. Monitor website activity: Monitor your website regularly for signs of unauthorized access, such as changes to files or databases. Use security tools such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus software to help detect and prevent attacks.

By following these strategies and taking a proactive approach to website security, you can significantly reduce the risk of identity theft.

What Causes Identity Theft?

Identity theft is caused by cybercriminals who steal or compromise websites in order to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information such as customer data, financial information, or login credentials. The following are some common causes of website identity theft:

1. Weak passwords: Weak passwords that are easily guessable or have been reused across multiple websites can allow cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to your website and steal sensitive information.

2. Outdated software: If your website’s software is not updated regularly, it may contain vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals.

3. Phishing attacks: Phishing attacks involve tricking website users into providing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information, by impersonating a legitimate website. Once the cybercriminal has this information, they can use it to gain unauthorized access to your website.

4. Malware: Malware, such as viruses or spyware, can infect your website and allow cybercriminals to steal sensitive information.

5. Insufficient security measures: If your website does not have sufficient security measures in place, such as SSL certificates, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems, it may be vulnerable to cyberattacks and identity theft.

By understanding the causes of identity theft, you can take steps to protect your website and your customers’ valuable personal information.

How to Detect Identity Theft?

Detecting identity theft can be difficult, but here are some tips to help you identify if a website is legitimate or not:

1. Check the URL: Make sure the URL of the website is correct. Fraudulent websites may use variations of the real URL, so be sure to double-check the spelling and domain name.

2. Look for the padlock icon: Check for the padlock icon in the address bar, which indicates that the website is using a secure connection. You can also look for “https” instead of “http” in the URL, which indicates that the website is using a secure protocol.

3. Check the website’s security certificate: Click on the padlock icon in the address bar to view the website’s security certificate. Make sure the certificate matches the website you are visiting and has not expired.

4. Be wary of pop-ups and unsolicited emails: Fraudulent websites may use pop-ups or unsolicited emails to lure you into entering personal information. Be cautious and don’t click on links or provide personal information unless you are certain of the website’s legitimacy.

5. Use anti-phishing software: Consider using anti-phishing software that can help detect and block fraudulent websites.

If you suspect a website is fraudulent, do not enter any personal information and report the website to the relevant authorities.

How Can I Avoid Identity Theft Online?

To avoid identity theft online, here are some steps you can take:

1. Keep your browser and security software up to date: Make sure you are using the latest version of your web browser and have security software installed and up to date. This can help protect against known security vulnerabilities and malware.

2. Use strong and unique passwords: Use strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts, and avoid using the same password across multiple accounts. Consider using a password manager to generate and store strong passwords.

3. Be cautious of phishing scams: Be wary of unsolicited emails, texts, or calls asking for personal information or directing you to click on links.

4. Verify website authenticity: Before entering any personal information on a website, verify its authenticity by checking the URL, looking for the padlock icon in the address bar, and checking the website’s security certificate.

5. Use two-factor authentication: Many websites offer two-factor authentication, which provides an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification in addition to your passwords, such as a text message or fingerprint scan.

By following these steps, you can reduce the risk of identity theft and protect your personal information online.

Common Scams Run by Scammers Who Prey on Identity of Niche Business

There are several common identity theft scams that scammers use to trick people into giving away their personal information. Here are some examples:

1. Phishing scams: Scammers may send emails or text messages that appear to be from legitimate companies or financial institutions, asking you to provide personal information such as your Social Security number, credit card information, or login credentials. They may use scare tactics, urgent language, or other methods to try to get you to respond quickly and provide the information they need.

2. Fake websites: Scammers may create fake websites that look like legitimate ones, but actually designed to steal your personal information. They may use similar domain names, logos, and other branding to trick you into thinking you are on a legitimate website. Once you enter your personal information, scammers can use it for fraudulent purposes.

3. Malware attacks: Scammers may use malware to infect your computer or mobile device, which can give them access to your personal information. Malware can be spread through email attachments, downloads, or other methods, and can be difficult to detect without proper security software.

4. Social media scams: Scammers may use social media platforms to trick you into giving away your personal information. They may create fake profiles, send direct messages, or post links to fake websites that ask for your personal information.

5. Fake job offers: Scammers may post fake job listings on legitimate job sites or social media platforms, asking for personal information as part of the job application process. Once they have your personal information, they can use it for fraudulent purposes.

Where to Complain About Identity Theft

If you suspect that you have been a victim of website identity theft, you should report it immediately to the appropriate authorities. Here are some organizations you can contact to file a complaint:

1. Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC is the primary government agency responsible for consumer protection and investigating identity theft. You can file a complaint with the FTC online at or by calling 1-877-438-4338.


2. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center that investigates internet-related crimes. You can file a complaint with the IC3 at


3. Your state attorney general: Your state attorney general may also have a consumer protection division that investigates identity theft and other types of fraud.

4. Google Safe Browsing: If you found a phishing page attempting to steal your website information, you can report the URL and submit comments to Google by visiting


When filing a complaint, be prepared to provide as much information as possible, including the website or company involved, any emails or other correspondence you received, and any other relevant details. By reporting the incident, you can help prevent further fraudulent activity and potentially recover any losses you may have incurred.


As your website’s pages continue to increase, it’s vital to keep an eye out for plagiarism from your competitors and other URLs on the web. You can and should resolve duplicate content. It happens in every industry and niche. Failure to fix it could prove disastrous for your SEO and search rankings. Simply by getting offenders to remove copied content, your content’s rankings could surge high.

Additionally, protecting your website from identity theft is essential to safeguard your personal information, maintain your brand reputation, and avoid potential legal and financial consequences. By prioritizing website security and taking proactive steps to prevent identity theft, you can help ensure the safety and security of your online business and protect your customers’ valuable personal information.

Tags:- business identity theftcontent theftidentuty theftphishing

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