Some imposters create fake social media pages using another person’s details so they are then free to post inappropriate content, causing serious damage to the victim’s reputation. Identity theft can also affect your financial liability and credit ratings.
In the first instance, report the identity theft to your bank and any other financial institutions likely to have been affected by fraud. You should also report the matter to the police for investigation.
However, limited police resources may mean that the matter cannot be pursued as a criminal prosecution. You may need to take further action yourself to remove offensive online content, recover stolen funds or obtain compensation.
Often the easiest way to get malicious online content taken down is to make a request to the host. Most social media sites have ‘report abuse’ processes. However, if removal via the host is not an option, there are a number of different legal grounds to bring a civil claim in identity theft cases, depending on the particular facts. These include:
This is likely to prove a challenge. However, most imposters eventually slip up, leaving clues as to their identity. It is possible to seek court orders against third parties who are caught up in (but are not culpable for) legal wrongdoing - such as internet host sites or retailers, who can be ordered to provide information helping to identify the imposter. In a recent case, we obtained a High Court order against Google as part of an investigation to uncover the identity of an internet ‘troll’.
If you are concerned that you may be affected, we have a specialist team of dispute resolution lawyers who can advise on identity theft claims and assist with identifying the imposter.