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What to Do If Someone Is Impersonating You on Instagram

Image for article titled What to Do If Someone Is Impersonating You on Instagram

Photo: AngieYeoh (Shutterstock)

Is someone copying my Instagram? It’s a more common concern than you might think. Scammers sometimes impersonate legitimate accounts on Instagram to fool friends and family or catfish unsuspecting strangers. If you come across an account impersonating you or someone you know, you can take action and request the account be shut down.

Scammers may impersonate someone to fool their friends and family into clicking on malicious links, providing them with information, or sending them money. A scammer may send a DM from the impersonation account, for example, asking the target to check out an image they posted or a link on another site. The link may, in actuality, be a form that steals account information or attempts to automatically download malware.

How to report an account impersonating someone on Instagram

To start, you should confirm that the account really is impersonating someone by comparing their profile picture and latest posts to see if they’re mimicking the account you suspect they’re impersonating. Then, send a direct message to the person you think the account is impersonating to confirm the account isn’t theirs. Don’t message the impersonation account. Once you’re sure you’ve spotted an impersonation account, you should report the impostor directly to Instagram.

To do this, return to the impersonator’s profile and tap the three dots icon at the top of the screen.

Image for article titled What to Do If Someone Is Impersonating You on Instagram

Screenshot: Shannon Flynn

Select Report User, which should be near the top of the list of options that appear. TappingReportwill open a menu that allows you to report the account with the reason “It’s impersonating someone I know.” Then, you’ll be prompted to provide some additional information, including who the account is impersonating.

Once the report is submitted, Instagram’s support team will investigate the account. There’s no guaranteed timeline for when support will get back to you, meaning it is best to report the account as soon as possible.

Don’t have an Instagram account? You can still report impersonation accounts using a form hosted on the Instagram Help Center. After you submit a report, Instagram will request identification in the form of a selfie and government ID.

As with a report submitted through the app, there’s no guarantee for when Instagram support will contact you. When they do, however, it will be via the email you provided when you filled out the form linked above.

What to do after you report an Instagram account

While you wait for Instagram support to review the report you submitted, you can warn friends and family members about the offending account. If the account was impersonating someone other than yourself, reaching out to the target of the account and letting them know they’ve been impersonated is important.

To limit the effectiveness of impersonation accounts going forward, avoid posting too much personally identifying information on Instagram, including your address or phone number.