People are like snowflakes, no two are the same, and you are beautifully unique. No one could ever be you! But, at Shona, we’re increasingly hearing from girls whose photos are being stolen and used to set up fake accounts on dating sites. With all the social media channels floating about out there, it can be so easy for people to impersonate you.
It’s gross, and can make you feel angry, upset but mostly, completely weirded out. Not cool, not cool at all!
So, we did a bit of digging and came up with some things you can do if you find out that your identity has been stolen online.
Report the account.
Without any hesitation, get onto that fake account and report it to the social media company. If you have the opportunity, explain the whole story. Screenshots can be extremely helpful too as it will show proof that you are you and that the account is fake. Mention it to your friends too. The more people reporting an account the better.
Name and shame.
You have your own social media accounts right? Why not pop up some screenshots of the fake account and let your friends know that this is not you and that you are very uncomfortable with the idea that someone is pretending to be you. Also mention if people come across this person to report them. Please be sensitive though. You don’t want to inundate this person with nasty messages so be strategic about how you ask your friends to deal with it. They may not be in a good place to begin with.
Time to go private.
We know you would like people to see all the cool things you’ve been up to, but for the time being, it would be best to put your social media accounts on private. By doing this, you are denying the identity thief any new and recent pictures. If they have no new pictures of you, chances are their lies will start to fall apart, they’ll get bored and give up.
Don’t know them? Hit decline.
It’s important not to make yourself or your information vulnerable to people you have never met in real life. Don’t add someone as a friend just because they send you a request. There is a “decline” button, and you should use it on a suspicious friend request. You can also unfriend, unfollow, or disconnect if you add someone and then realize they’re a stranger or a fake account created only to access your information.
Tell an adult.
Hopefully, it will never become anything too serious but your best bet is to tell an adult who you trust about what’s going on. They will be your support through this and will help you navigate a way of getting this person shut down. It also serves as a back up in case things get a little nasty. Your trusted adult knows it’s not you and will be there to vouch for you.
We hope if you find yourself in a situation where your identity has been stolen, this may be of some help to you or someone you know. Please be careful online. It can be all fun and games until something goes a bit sideways. Please look out for each other.
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