How Do I Stop My Facebook Doppelganger?

Katie says he friend has been attacked on Facebook. Someone has copied her profile, befriended her contacts and sent them terrible messages in a frame job. She says Facebook has been unresponsive and wants your advice on how to handle the situation.

She writes:

There is a creep impersonating my friend on Facebook – this person has created a fake profile and put all of her information and photo in it and then began sending horrible messages to all of her friends and family. She’s locked down her privacy settings on her own account, and a ton of us, her friends, have reported the fake profile.

The problem is that this has been going on for a month and we’ve received no response from Facebook. Is there any way we can escalate this issue to make Facebook pay attention and take some action? There is an issue now that if she leaves Facebook, it could be worse, as the bad one would be the only one out there for her and that could cause even more damage. I know this is a rampant problem, and it seems to me like anyone, not just Facebook users, could be vulnerable to this sort of attack. It makes me angry that Facebook has not yet taken action after weeks of harassment endured by my friend.

What would you do if someone aped you on a social networking site and management wouldn’t come to your aid? Would you start a fake-fake version of you to talk smack about the fake version? But what if the faker made a fake-fake-fake version of your fake to further confuse your loved ones?


Edit Your Comment

  1. sth9669 says:

    Man, screw facebook!

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      Pssst….I hear MySpace was easier…

    • a354174 says:

      Well she should not have been trolling on Ebaum’s world. If you post nudes on there you are going to get tracked down and they will send the pictures to your friends and family. It would have been avoided if she would not have done any of this. It’s her fault.

  2. hewhoroams says:

    Just contact all your friends and have them de-friend the evil doppleganger. use email or phone, not facebook

    • El Soze says:

      ^ This

    • stormbird says:

      But… but how would you waste hours virtual farming and keep in constant touch with people that you really don’t care about?

    • Alvarez says:

      That’s what I was thinking but then all of my facebook friends are people I actually know. So many people on facebook friend anyone they’ve ever had a conversation with on the internets so they end up with hundreds of friends they don’t have contact info for, short of trawling through their friends’ info page and finding it there.

      The alternative would be to PM each facebook friend individually and tell them to de-friend the “other me”. Both options sound time-consuming and annoying if you have hundreds of friends. Getting facebook to delete the impersonators account sounds like a much easier and faster option, if that’s possible.

      • Azzizzi says:

        There are also people who will add you and they’ve never met you. I had a friend of a friend add me and I asked her how she knew my friend. She never responded. I figured she was just randomly adding people.

  3. ElleAnn says:

    Couldn’t the friends file police reports regarding the harassing messages?

    • Griking says:

      But the friends accepted the friend request.

    • Difdi says:

      What the OP is describing is a tort, not a crime. It’s defamation, which is properly handled with a lawsuit, the police can’t do anything about it unless it gets to the point where the faker is trying to solicit a violent act. And even then, there’s not a lot the police can do about it.

  4. Frank says:

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery???

    /had to be done, sorry

  5. cotr says:

    been sending facebook bug and issue requests for over a month now myself.

    of course no response.

  6. LatinoGeek says:

    If someone aped me on FB, I’d close my account. Notify people either by email or phone call that I no longer have the account.

    This is the reason why I’m very selective about who I accept friend requests from:

    Family and close friends, ok.
    Ex-girlfirends, maybe.
    Co-workers, NO.
    Random Strangers who send friend requests, Absolutely NOT.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      THANK YOU!!! Your real friends know which FB page is really yours. I think a couple of them will probably start asking questions if they get another friend request from someone claiming to be you, and the gig would be up.

      Now, if I caught somebody doing this, I’d be tempted to friend him, just to see what he’d do. If he approves it, he’s really a dumbass. Then the fun begins. I’d start liking stuff. Lots of stuff. Anything to fill the fake FB page with useless stuff. HurtsSoGood likes cats. HurtsSoGood likes old cars. HurtsSoGood likes John Mellencamp. I’d write rebuttals all over his wall. There are lots of ways you can be a nuisance on FB.

    • pinkpetunia says:

      That still leaves the problem that the fake person can still do damage even if the real person leaves facebook. And how are you going to contact all of your contacts by phone or email? People have hundreds of contacts these days and I don’t even know all of my friends’ phone numbers or emails. I don’t see why you would have to leave facebook if you were going to tell people about the impostor anyway.

      • LatinoGeek says:

        You have a point. But if you have 300+ friends do you *really* know all of them?

        • pinkpetunia says:

          I’ve got about 200 and yes, I do actually know all of them, from years of being in school mostly. I delete people whom I feel I would never contact again, and never would I accept a request from someone I didn’t know (that is creepy). Also, I agree with what Griking said – what if someone you know friends the faker and doesn’t realize it? That could create problems.

    • Griking says:

      What about people that send your doppelganger a friend request thinking that it’s you? How would you know about these?

      • Conformist138 says:

        If you don’t know them well enough to know they friended the wrong person, you’re not very good friends. I think my pals would notice if they friended me (assuming I had a profile) and “I” wrote back something nasty. They would then tell me directly, since people I know have my phone number, address, and regular email address. Also, I would be warning my friends to watch out for the fake.

        Why do we assume Facebook has to help with the sorting process, they’re supposed to be her friends! That said, Facebook should cancel the offending profile. Not only is the person taking another person’s info, but they’re sending harassing messages, which is a terms violation no matter what.

  7. diasdiem says:

    We’ll have to eliminate you both. It’s the only way to be sure.

  8. SagarikaLumos says:

    Ask Steve jobs.

  9. Dr. Eirik says:

    Bah, I make my own Facebook at home.

  10. chgoeditor says:

    Does your friend know who’s doing this? If so, a police report and strongly worded letter from a lawyer would probably help. I don’t have any experience with this with FB specifically, but I know that most tech companies won’t reveal any personal info about a member (IP address, email address, etc.) unless they receive a subpoena, which gets expensive.

    If your friend hasn’t already done this, he/she should report the profile to FB as containing stolen photos/infringing his/her copyright:!/help/?faq=17434!/help/?faq=12013
    That might get their attention. (Again, a letter from a lawyer to their legal department might get their attention more quickly.)

    Also, encourage your friend to rally his/her friends to collectively unfriend the fake profile. Without an audience, the creep may lose interest.

    • bwcbwc says:

      I like this. If someone has posted photos that belong to your friend to perpetuate the scam, a DMCA takedown is a valid option.

  11. RickinStHelen says:

    Kim Komanda addressed this on her show. Basically, facebook will not repond, and there is virtually no way to get in touch with a live person. She suggested making a statement on your page, or on a blog, etc, that someone is duplicating your account and sending false messages in your name. It puts it in the public record that you are aware, so if there are legal consequences, you now have proff. Myself, depending on the messages and damage, I would consider legal action.

  12. spamtasticus says:

    Best way. I did something similar to teach my ex about the dangers online when there was only BB chats and no interweb. The lesson to learn here is that if this is done more subtly it is way more dangerous. If instead of posting “bad things” the mine your friends for info on them or on you it is very dangerous. always confirm someone is who they say they are. In person or over the phone. If not then you are wide open.

  13. pantheonoutcast says:

    Is the impersonator a complete stranger, or does Katie’s friend know who it is? The correct response as to what steps should be taken next depend on whether or not the friend can accurately identify the perpetrator.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Is it some Nigerian scammer or is it an ex-friend/quasi-acquaintance sending out obscenities?

      As annoying as it would be to deal with it, in all reality a true fraudster who tries to get get personal information out of contacts is probably more dangerous than some a-hole who posts nasty stuff for status updates.

  14. penuspenuspenus says:

    Challenge them to a Singstar competition to prove who is the real one.

  15. grumpygirl says:

    best way: a twitter avalanche, a reddit posting, and having this story published on consumerist.

  16. kylere1 says:

    DMCA takedown notice for use of your IP

    • dork says:

      Yes. I’ve done this, it works.

      Someone took the pictures off my wife’s blog and started using them all over the Internets, claiming they were their own. I documented each copied picture, and sent an E-mail to the folks who enforce the Terms of Service for all those sites, noting that the pictures were our Intellectual Property and requesting they remove them, pursuant to the DMCA. I was going to follow up with a certified letter, but I didn’t need to: the accounts were deleted within days.

  17. grumpygirl says:

    and if it’s a woman with scary/creepy content, jezebel.

  18. Osi says:

    Identity theft. If facebook does not do a thing about it, then they are knowingly participating in identity theft. The key here is “knowingly”. Have your friend contact facebook one last time, and make sure to mention identity theft. If they still refuse to do anything, take them (facebook AND the criminal) to court for identity theft.

    You do have a case if facebook knowingly allows this.

    • smo0 says:

      I like fighting fires with napalm too!


      They can do an IP trace of the user and tell you exactly where they are… see if someone will give you the IP of where this person is logging on from – contact the ISP and pretty much state they are doing… all of the above, actually…

      Identity Theft, Copyright Infringement… ISP’s well get on the ball – it’s all about what you say.

  19. Groanan says:

    Send the fake you a message stating that you are:

    1. Consulting a lawyer
    2. That the lawyer will subpoena Facebook,
    3. That you will get their IP address and know exactly who and where they are, and
    4. That you will be filing a police report / bringing a civil suit against them.
    5. Tell them to delete their fake profile now and perhaps you will change your mind.

    • krista says:

      +1 – the best and quickest way to resolve it 98% of the time. You do have to word it right – lots of legalese and no cuss words.

    • pot_roast says:

      Why even send a note? Just do it. Skip the posturing. Go right for the napalm.

  20. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Take it to court – sounds like a case for fraud, and libel.

  21. grumpygirl says:

    best way: a twitter avalanche, a reddit posting, and having this story published on consumerist.

  22. FranktasticVoyage says:

    Are you sure that you’re not doing this yourself while you think you’re asleep at night?

    Just be sure your doppelganger hasn’t started a secret underground fighting club as the first step in a plan where she is developing a cult with plans to blow up half of downtown Los Angeles in a questionable plot for financial anarchy.

  23. ariven says:

    Plus, if you took the photo (i.e. own the rights), you could feasibly do a DMCA takedown notice on it and force it to be removed. This will at least remove the visual part that lets the person pretend to be you.

  24. Julia789 says:

    She should contact the local police department – walk in don’t call – you will get a better response. Explain you’re being harrassed and have had your identity stolen, and they are harrassing others in your name.

  25. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Go to their house, introduce their face to a real book. :) You’ll get more satisfaction out of it. When they say, “Touch me and I’ll sue your ass.” Say, “I can’t sue myself.”

  26. jessjj347 says:

    Is everyone serious that legal action can be taken? I’ve seen tons of fake profiles/blogs/ etc for people who are famous or at least just Internet-famous.

    • Osi says:

      Yep, most people are lazy and won’t do a thing. Thats identity theft, Facebook is (in it’s part) doing aiding in identity theft, so yeah, police department, DA’s complaint, and court. Sue both of them to hell.

    • inputhike says:

      Yes, seriously. Identity theft is a crime. So is (according to current laws) copyright infringement. Harassment is also a crime. Right there we’ve got 3 counts. (And probably more, but I’m not a lawyer, etc.)
      This person probably is not aware of how easily the OP’s friend’s lawyer (and the police) could bust them. Enlightening them (plus facebook), might make this go away quite quickly.

    • FranktasticVoyage says:

      I’m sorry, but you people have no idea what you’re talking about.
      Based on the details noted above, this is not identity theft, it’s definitely not copyright infringement, and based strictly on what was written it may not even be harassment (although, it probably is…)

      You’re right that Facebook should do something, and I supposed they will eventually get to it. But at this point, there is no legal recourse (criminal or civil). The best advice would be to continue trying to get Facebook to act. (which sucks, but is the price of doing business with Facebook)

    • satoru says:

      Only a few states have ‘non financial’ clauses for identity theft. Otherwise it’s generally reserved for actual monetary fraud. In this case you might be able to pursue libel or harassment by the facebook profile, then compel them to close the page or provide your lawyer and law enforcement with IP or login information. There isn’t much ‘identity theft’ going on in this situation, thus libel or harassment would be a better way to pursue legal action.

  27. Red Cat Linux says:

    I can’t even get the ditzy lady in Georgia to stop giving out my Gmail address as hers. I get freaked out all the time by companies ‘thanking me for my order”. It can be a problem if someone intentionally tries to imitate you.

    • WagTheDog says:

      How I stopped the emails to some guy who was giving out my email as his own: I replied:

      “Hey, guys, why the heck doesn’t Mikey ever reply to your emails? He died. Nope I am not kidding. Mike is dead and buried and you missed it. Mike, a 14 year old Labrador Retriever, passed away in his sleep last July and is unable to answer any further emails. In any case, he was not old enough to attend your 50-something getaway. For the LAST TIME YOU GUYS, this is NOT your friend’s email address. While I have enjoyed reading Mikey’s email for the past several years, and have learned much about Mike’s job and lifestyle, I would suggest you phone him and ask him what his email address really is.”

      Of course, they thought this was just another email from their joker-buddy Mike.

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        Oh, you are so much nicer than me! Today, I told a company that the credit card used to order whatever they shipped had been stolen and to cancel the order.

        I felt slightly bad about it, but it’s been four years of these confirmation e-mails for orders I didn’t place. She’s an Avon rep too. Imagine getting a order confirmation in e-mail for a huge order of Avon products you didn’t place. The sad thing is that I got Avon to stop, and hoped they had to have told her she’d given them the wrong address in order to get the right one from her.

        And she’s still giving out my address.

        • WagTheDog says:

          Well, I confess I briefly contemplated sending itinerary details of the 50-something guys-only getaway in Vegas to a few of the wives (whose emails I had via cc, naturally), but I refrained. Still tempted….in the end, I had to block each guy’s email. They probably still can’t figure out why Mike never answers his email.

        • Not Given says:

          Get Mailwasher, bounce the emails back to the sender.

  28. somedaysomehow says:

    The very same thing happened to me, OP. I posted something on my FB about it, and asked all my friends to repost on their pages so other friends would be aware. I also asked everyone to report the faker. Facebook removed her in less than 24 hours. The trick is to have a LOT of people reporting it.

  29. Papa Midnight says:

    I’d call Andrew Cuomo.

    • Papa Midnight says:

      I might not be from New York or agree with ALL his actions, but the man is on a winning streak.

  30. agardina says:

    Tweet them @Facebook. Surprisingly, they’re actually responsive there, which is pretty ironic.

  31. JGB says:

    you don’t say how old you are, but I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are 14. Any older than that, coupled with “I have a facebook page” and an unflattering image starts to take shape.

    So, you and your friends should start a nasty rumor during gym.

    • coren says:

      There are over 400 million people using facebook. I’m betting most of them are over 14. Sweeping generalizations for large portions of the population, YAY

    • pinkpetunia says:

      Judging by your outdated stereotype of Facebook (one that isn’t even accurate as Facebook started in colleges), I’m guessing you’re an old fart. Did you write your post on a telegraph?

  32. jjcraftery says:

    Woah…….head is spinning……

  33. moore850 says:

    just give us your ID and we’ll swamp them with takedown requests and it will all be over in a matter of hours.

  34. lperreault says:

    This happened to my daughter — we called the police and reported it as identity theft, which it is. The police called the guy and made him give us the password and access to the account so it could be deleted.

  35. My Head Hurts says: