The real Gary Allman

Diocesan Director of Communications, Gary Allman looking, it must be said, a bit disheveled, photographing the ‘Awakening the Spirit’ event at Kansas City Live! Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

It’s an interesting question. How do you know this website belongs to the real Gary Allman? The truth is, you don’t. There are a lot of real Gary Allman’s about. I come across them from time to time. There’s the Gary Allman, who also worked at Portsmouth Polytechnic (now the University of Portsmouth) at the same time as I did in the seventies. We became aware of each other when our payroll records accidentally got switched. Then there’s a Gary Allman who lives 50 miles or so from me here in Missouri. I first discovered him as we both shopped at the same store, and our records got crossed.

Regardless of how many real Gary Allmans there are, the question is, should I have to prove I’m the real Gary Allman, whose pictures are being stolen? I don’t see why I should. However, as a public service, and in the interest of convincing romance scam victims that the people using my pictures aren’t really me, let’s see what we can and cannot do.

What I can’t do

Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Twitter have all demanded (and received) physical confirmation of my ID at various times — mainly in response to my requests that they takedown scam accounts. And even then, they often refuse to take action.

I’m not posting unedited versions of my driving license, green card, or passport here. I’ve been vetted by the British police and Missouri State Troopers. The former was a requirement for my emigration to the US, and the latter was to enable me to work with children at church. None of that is for public display. Let’s not give the scammers anything more to work with. We ain’t going there.

What I can do

So what is there that romance scam victims can easily view online that’s not easy to fake? And, let’s be honest, most things are possible to fake. Like this deep fake of Tom Cruise.

Wayback Machine

This is a good one. Wayback Machine is a non-profit site that archives the internet. So here’s an archive of a post about one of my trips to India in 2001, archived in 2003. That’s hard to fake. I still own the site, though that particular page is long gone — I must add it to Breakfast in America!

Flickr

One thing that is harder to fake is when an account was opened, and my Flickr account has been there since 2006, and I’m still posting pictures.

Recent appearances on social media

Anyone can create a fake Facebook account. After all, that’s probably why you are here. However, it’s a lot harder for a scammer to appear in a photo or video on a Facebook page. Let’s see them explain how they managed to be in a church in Missouri. Actually, don’t do that. Never tell a scammer how you found out about the scam. Please don’t make it easier for them.

Gary Allman Taking a Picture of the Congregation at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Joplin, Missouri.

Then there’s this really embarrassing video of my fumbling around with the prayer book and hymnal while my boss (the bishop) is processing up the aisle.

Which is a good segue to my work

Here’s a good one of me. back in 2017, with Congressman Emanual Cleaver and the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, and not an oil rig in sight.

That’s me down at the end of the table with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Also from 2017, here I am, looking suitably disheveled, addressing the annual diocesan convention (and Bishop Marty is probably regretting asking me to speak off the cuff).

Bishop Marty (probably ill-advisedly) called on the rather rumpled-looking Communications Director to speak. Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

And from August 2021, still looking rumpled.

Diocesan staff, August 4, 2021.

And if that’s not enough, here’s a link to all the articles I’ve written for work, many of which include my picture.

In case you were wondering, the staff are aware of my pictures being used in romance scams, and I’ve also written about it for the diocese.

And what about Lanie?

Is Lanie my step-daughter or Alondra as she is often called by the scammers? Well. I think this video and the pictures answer that question.

So there you have it. This particular Gary Allman is not an oil rig worker, widowed, divorced, or anything else other than a husband, backpacker, and communications director working in West Missouri.

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