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Impersonating and verification of identity

The internet is a great place for people of all ages to explore their sexual and gender identity. Sometimes, this exploration can be taken and misused by other people to exploit us.

Social media and online dating apps are often a good place for connection and getting to know new and similar people. But sometimes, people use these platforms to deceive others by using phony profiles to obtain identity and financial details. It’s important to know how to protect yourself, catch a scam, and where to report these fraudulent accounts.

  • Phony Profile And Pretenders

Creating a profile or account pretending to be someone you are not is called impersonation. Some of these people may even set up a profile or account pretending to be you! This can be done for a variety of reasons including to damage your reputation and to scam or embarrass you or someone you know. One way to counteract this is to gather evidence such as taking screenshots of the phony profile and reporting through the online service you are  using. Never send your personal ID documents during this process unless the app verifiably asks you to. The eSafety Guide has multiple links to report phony profiles on many online services.

“I was swiping on Tinder and I came across myself!”

“At first, I thought it was just a mistake and that the account would be taken down soon. I matched with them and I realised that the account was being used to impersonate me and was saying things that were not only false but were really mean. I reported it to Tinder and they took it down after three days. The whole experience really rattled me”

– Jane*

  • Catfishing

When someone makes a phony profile in order to foster a relationship with another to scam them out of money or information is called catfishing. It is for this reason that it is important to ensure that you can verify someone is who they claim to be. You can learn more about verifying individual’s identity in Chatting Online.

“When I started to Alysha*, I thought I had found the one.”

We had everything in common. In hindsight, that should have been the first red flag but I just got swept up in it all. I would talk to her all the time. Then, she asked to move off the dating app and as soon as I agreed, she started asking me for money. I felt so used. I broke all contact with her.

– John*

  • Identity Theft

When someone tried to steal your name, date of birth and/or financial information to steal your money is called identity theft. It is important not to share this information this information online, particularly with someone you have just met. Furthermore, identity thieves can also obtain your personal information from various online services to be used to gain access to your accounts or create phony profiles in your name.

“I got an email out of the blue saying my Tinder needed verifying.”

“I was a bit confused as I had been on Tinder for 6 months but I clicked on it anyway. As soon as I clicked on it, my computer started downloading software. It was malware. The malware starting lifting my personal information. As a result, I ended up spending hours cancelling cards and trying to get my identity back.”