Being Impersonated By Someone Else on Facebook

By on Sep 8, 2016

Facebook has rapidly become a part of everyday life for many people.

It can be an excellent way to stay in touch and know what is going on with friends and family who you might not see that often. This is especially true if you have grandkids!

Facebook is also one of the most underutilized prospecting tools available to insurance agencies to generate inbound leads via the Facebook advertising platform.

Even if you do not use Facebook very often, it is important to make sure you review your Facebook privacy settings for both your individual and business Facebook accounts.

This became abundantly clear to me last week when my wife Karen looked up from her phone and said, “I just got a friend request from you on Facebook. I think we are already friends!”

Someone had created a new Facebook account and used my name and picture to get people to connect with the fake account. This account also had my birth date as 1997! While I was a bit flattered for a moment, I think the white hair gave it away.

I quickly checked my account and was able to determine that my actual Facebook account did not get hacked.

Karen went on to suggest – correctly – that I should do something about it to warn my contacts. We were on vacation last week and it took a bit of time to find somewhere so I could log on. And it took even longer to try to figure out how to notify Facebook that someone was impersonating me.

I immediately posted a status update letting my real friends know that someone was impersonating me and not to accept any additional friend requests. A couple of people let me know that they did accept this bogus friend request and were upset that I was not going to send them the $50 I had promised.

Through this process, I did discover that there is a way for your friends and family to report a bogus friend request if someone is trying to impersonate you online.

Fortunately, two friends did report this, and I received an email from Facebook the next day saying they were investigating it. Shortly after that another email stated they had deactivated the other account because it “goes against our community standard on identity and privacy.”

Facebook email

This whole incident made me more aware that my online reputation could be damaged even without my account being taken over by a hacker.

Here are the steps Facebook recommends you take to report an impostor if someone created an account pretending to be you:

  1. Go to the impostor profile. If you cannot find it, try searching for the name used on the profile or asking your friends if they can send you a link to it.
  2. Click the ellipsis on the cover photo and select Report.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions.

If you do not have a Facebook account, you can report an impostor account by filling out this form.

I share my experience with you as a warning (even for those of you who are not very active on Facebook or other social platforms) to make sure you monitor your online presence and review the platforms privacy settings on a regular basis.

Have you had a similar experience? Let me know the details.

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