Just a note tonight about anonymity in our chat room and in the email group. For those of you who may hesitate to join us because you don't want your name "out there" or your story published all over the internet, there are a couple of ways to make sure your privacy is maintained.
1. In the chat room, create a username that has no relationship to who you really are. Do not log in with your email address. The chat room is NOT connected with Yahoo in anyway and you do not need to use an email address to login. You also do not need a password to login to the chat room. Although it is possible for anyone in the chat room to copy what you might say, it is highly unlikely. In any case, as long as you are using a created username, it remains totally anonymous. There are no transcripts kept on any conversations in the chat room. There is no membership requirement to be part of the chat room. When you login to the chat, your IP address and your general location will show to the moderators only, but your name and address and email address is not known to anyone but you. There is no public membership listing in the chat room and just because you logged in one time does not put you on a list of any kind. Once you have been there awhile, at your option, you may choose to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org which allows us to verify your IP address. At this point we will put you on our verified user list which only the moderators can see. This option is totally up to you but will allow you full use of the chat room features. It is also used as a safety method of identifying for new people who are regular verified users as well as letting the regulars know who is new and needs assistance.
2. The Yahoo email group is connected with Yahoo, obviously. Therefore, if you want to keep who you are there anonymous, it is suggested that you also create a new Yahoo email before joining the group. Our email group is a private group and therefore your emails you send in are not available through searching any search engine online. Some groups you might join are not private, but are public which means everything posted there is available online in searches. However, this will not happen with our email group. Anonymity is of utmost importance to all of us and we believe the freedom to be able to say what we need to say to heal is more important than letting what is said be seen to outsiders as well as possibly to scammers. Only the name of our email group is public. Membership lists and posts are not public. This means that only members can see the membership list and posts. The email group is also set so that no one may join without first sending a request to join. Once your request has been approved, only then will you be able to post an email to the forum.
That being said, if anyone joins either the chat room or the email group and does not create a username or email address that is not associated with their real name, other users there will be able to see the information you allow to be seen because of your choice you made when you logged in. While your anonymity and privacy is important to us, it is your responsibility to make sure that you protect yourself to the best of your ability. Creating a username and email address following our suggestions is the best way you can do that.
Joining the email group is not a requirement to be part of the chat room and joining the chat room is not a requirement to be part of the email group. You are free to pick either or both. We realize that individual preferences are important and this is why we offer both options. Whichever choice you make, we are glad you found us. We will do the best we can to help you deal with what has happened to you and help you heal.
One final point. If you choose to join the email group, please take note on the registration/account section you are asked to choose how you wish to receive the emails. There are four options available. You can choose to receive individual emails, or the daily digest which compacts several emails into one daily email, or you can choose special notices which will send you only specific emails, or finally you can select webview only. This final option means you will receive no emails at all from the group, but you are still a member of the group. You can read all emails, respond, or post new emails directly from the email group website which is located at http://groups.yahoo.com/romance_scamsoftheheart.