I’ve Been Impersonated on Instagram!! Let’s Discuss

April 23, 2020 Let's Discuss 61

So, this morning, a friend of mine contacted me on Instagram and asked if my account got spoofed. He sent me an image of my Instagram account… except it wasn’t! At first glance, it looked like me … my profile picture, my name, even the last five images I’d posted. The only slight difference (which is basically unnoticeable unless you looked hard) is that they added an underscore after my Instagram handle (so they used @nicolefictionaddiction_).

IF YOU GET A FOLLOW FROM THIS PERSON (with the underscore after the name), PLEASE DON’T FOLLOW BACK!

My first reaction was shock—what was this person doing impersonating me? And then worry … wait, what was this person doing while impersonating me? I mean, they couldn’t have had good intentions, right?

Thankfully, my friend had noticed right away and let me know (thanks Malcolm!) and only 14 people had followed at that point. It looks like the impersonator just started following my followers, hoping people would blindly follow them back. It looked like me, so it’s not that surprising that some people followed back without really thinking about it all that much.

I immediately:

  • Reported the user as spam. (That was the only option I saw under the little reporting ellipsis that seemed to make sense).
  • Reported the impersonation. After doing a little searching, I discovered that there is a form to fill out to inform Instagram if someone is impersonating you. I had to give the impersonator’s handle and send Instagram a picture of me holding a form of ID (I used my driver’s license and covered the driver’s license number with my finger for good measure). Hopefully they’ll shut the account down soon.
  • Contacted the impersonator’s followers. First I contacted Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books because she was the first follower that I  recognized as a fellow blogger that I talk to outside of Instagram. She let me know that she’d gotten some strange messages from this impersonator, so I made the decision to go ahead and warn the other 13 followers as well (like I said, luckily there weren’t that many!).
    • Several of them let me know that they reported the impersonator as well. (Thanks!!)
    • Nicole @yaaas_or_nahs_books sent me a screenshot of the weird messages she’d received so I could see for myself. (Thanks, Nicole!) We’re guessing a request for her bank account info or something was coming soon.

The message is particularly sneaky because the underscore isn’t even showing on the screen! Even someone who knew I don’t have an underscore after my account name and was paying really good attention would think this was me. (And let’s face it, the number of people who would fit these criteria is pretty small—I doubt I’d be one of them.)

Anyway, I just thought I’d let people know this happened to me because it’s not something I ever really worried about. I also thought it would be good to let people know what steps you can take if this happens to you.

Hopefully this account will be deleted and there won’t be any issues, but I hate the idea of people out there using my face to scam people!!

Have you ever been spoofed on one of your social media accounts? Did it cause you any problems? I want to know!

 

I linked this post up to the 2020 Book Blog Discussion Challenge.

61 Responses to “I’ve Been Impersonated on Instagram!! Let’s Discuss”

  1. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    Sorry you have to deal with this. The same thing happened to my mom on Facebook. Someone made an account with her name and profile photo and sent friend request to her friends. I’m not sure if she did anything to get it taken down. I know she told her friends not to interact with it.

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    Thanks for letting us know about this! Scary stuff. Scammers are evil. I’ve had this happen to me on Facebook.

  3. Emily

    The exact same thing happened to one of my high school friends today! I don’t know if there was a security breach at Instagram or sos ring. Very bizarre. I’m glad you were able to shut down the account!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I know, it’s so weird!! I assume they were going to start phishing for bank info or something. Like get someone talking, thinking it’s me, and then say, “Hey we should go into this great opportunity together.” That’s my guess based on the message they sent about WHO funding on CNN. I somehow doubt any of my friends or followers would have believed that I was suddenly interested in investing with them, but I suppose you never know!

  4. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    Oh my goodness, how bizarre. Thank goodness you were alerted to it. And hopefully IG will shut down the account quickly. The sad thing is, the person will just create another impostor account (or a couple dozen of them) right away. So disheartening.

  5. Sam@wlabb

    Does that mean you’re famous? But, seriously, it’s so invasive, and thank goodness, this person wasn’t able to get a deep reach into your following. It’s sad that we have to constantly be on the lookout for people like this, and it just shatters my trust. Sorry it happened to you, but I hope it gets cleared up quickly

  6. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    Omg that’s scary! I mean, I know this is the horrors of social media, but I never thought this would happen. I mean for the cursory look, people would think this is you! The extra _ on the handle makes it harder to see, but a look at the profile page would’ve had me scratching my head. That’s just too scary. Glad you had friends who caught this and you could report it. Hopefully nothing happened with the people this person reached out to. Every time you want to think about the goodness in the world and what a great bookish community we have, something like this happens. I know it’s just a scammer being their scamming self, but this is one of those horrors on the online world your mom always warned you about!

    Again, glad you were able to take action with instagram and hopefully they will remove this person asap!

  7. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    Nicole, this is BANANAS. I am at a loss for words, which you know happens rarely. Like. What would possess someone!? I am so sorry you’re dealing with this (but also, echoing Sam, you have clearly made it, which… I am sure is small consolation when you find that your identity has been stolen, but alas.) I have not had any similar thing happen, so unfortunately I have no advice to give, but I am so sorry this happened!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Master Class by Christina Dalcher: Blog Tour Review!
  8. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    How strange! I barely use instagram so I’d hope no one would bother impersonating me but its very disconcerting all the same that they used your picture, your recent photos and basically looked like your profile at a quick glance. It’s scary the things which can happen so sorry it happened to you. Hopefully, it all gets sorted out quickly for you.

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: The Flower Book Tag
  9. trin carl

    Wow that’s real interesting. I’ve been using instagram a lot. I even started vlogging but I haven’t gotten the courage to turn the camera towards myself if you get what I’m saying. Hope you keep busy.I also love comedy on instagram you might like this guy #cutoutbar.

  10. S. J. Pajonas

    What a pain in the butt. I’m sure this is the last thing you want to be dealing with right now. I’m glad to hear you have it somewhat sorted for the time being. I’ve never had to deal with something like this, but I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time!

    S. J. Pajonas recently posted: Sunday Update – April 26, 2020
  11. Gretchen

    Ahh I’m sorry you had to deal with that! I really don’t understand how people can do stuff like that.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yes, it looks like it got removed a day or two after I posted this, thank goodness. I’ll have to keep an eye out for things like this in the future though. So sad that people will do anything they can to cheat others.

  12. Chana @ Paper Procrastinators

    This is so alarming!! I’m so happy that you got notified of it before it got too out of hand. The internet can be so scary sometimes 😫😪 I see from the other comments that the account got removed, thank goodness!

  13. Gayathri

    I know I am reading this a bit late, but I popped out to check if I was following the correct you on Instagram. It looks like I am.

    On the other hand I am not even shocked at this point. I would just accept if a blogger I know sends me a request on social platform. I have been blogging and commenting for so long that you guys are like my friends, so I would hit the accept button without any consideration. They are playing it right, whoever did this.

    But I am sorry that it happened to you!

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