Impersonation means an act of pretending to be another person for the purpose of entertainment or fraud. There are the instances of impersonation in digital world too, in fact these are thousands of cases. We call them fake profiles or fake accounts. Recently I found that someone has been using name and profile picture of a cousin of mine on Facebook. Luckily Facebook for now is very strict on these imposter profiles. That profile was taken down by Facebook within couple of hours after I reported that to them.
But what if these profiles go unnoticed? We engage to hundreds of people on Social media through our profiles. We update something they all get to know it. There are a lot more who can see what we do on social media. In short, our social media profiles kind of represent us. These profiles are the reflection of our personalities and our image. Now imagine, what harm could someone do to our image having our identity? So I am writing this article for my friends and readers to keep safe both from being impersonated and impersonating someone. And as facebook is the largest social media, I am writing this on the perspective of facebook in this article.
Sometimes guys tell me that they have made such profile of a girl and what they do using those. It is only good if they are not using real name or photographs and use those profiles in their friend circle for prank purpose. But if it goes beyond that it may harmful both for you and the person whose identity you are using.
How to Report Fake Profiles
Facebook is full of fake profiles. Social media is space we share with our friends. Hence it is our responsibility to keep it safe and clean. So what if you find a facebook account impersonating you or any of your friend. The first thing is to remove the account before any harm is done. There is a simple process to report a fake Profile.
- Go the account you want to report.(Note down the link of the account so that you can check later if it is removed or not)
- Click on options button next to Message button in the right bottom corner of cover photo. A Option box will appear. Click on Report.
- Click Report this account
- Next Click This person is pretending to be me or someone I know and then complete the on-screen directions
- You will be asked to enter the account whom this person is impersonating. Enter Real Account Address and click Submit to Facebook for Review
Law for Social Media Impersonation in india
Impersonation using fake Profiles may be punishable under Section 66-D of Information Technology Act 2000, amended in 2008, which states that “whoever by means of any communication device or computer resource cheats by impersonating, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.” Section 66 is also applicable for identity theft.
Creating a random fake account with a Pseudo names and random pictures, however does not count for any punishment unless it is used for any fraudulent activities.
Section 419, which could be applied for cheating by personation means if any person is making any pecuniary benefit by using fake account. Other than that section 465, which states punishment for forgery where Section 470 describes the forgery of a document or electronic record.
These activities may result to a imprisonment of 3 to 7 years and hefty fine in these cases.
So, here are some words of advice
- Do not get involve in impersonation. If you are creating any fake account for any purpose, do not use name and photograph of any person and do not use this account for any kind of fraudulent activity,
- If your or any your friend’s account is being impersonated, first report to Facebook and take that account down. And If that account is involved in any fraudulent activity using your name, report to cyber cell of the police.