Online Impersonation

Ready to get started?

Submit your case online

Kronenberger Rosenfeld represents a range of clients who have been impersonated on websites and in emails.

Today, it only takes a few minutes for a bad actor to create an email address or a social media account that appears to be associated with another person. Once created, these fake accounts can be used to impersonate the victim, whether to defraud friends and family of the victim, to embarrass the victim with false or private details, or just to create mayhem.

A patchwork of federal laws, state laws, and common laws prohibits unauthorized online impersonation. As an example, California Penal Code section 528.5 makes it unlawful to knowingly impersonate another person on a website or other electronic means for the purpose of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person. A person who violates this California law can be punished for up to a year in jail. However, California is on the forefront of online impersonation laws and not every state has adopted similar statutes. Experienced counsel can help you find the right law for the right circumstance.

Even when a state does not have a law that specifically prohibits online impersonation, other laws may be used to obtain relief. As an example, most states have laws that prohibit others from using your name or picture for their commercial advantage. While these laws most commonly apply in the context of celebrities, they have been extended to general online impersonation. Similarly, all states prohibit a person from making intentional misrepresentations, which can also apply in the context of online impersonation.

Kronenberger Rosenfeld has considerable experience in representing victims of online impersonation. In these lawsuits, the firm has attained both the immediate termination of the impostor accounts and compensatory damages for the victim.

If you have been the victim of online impersonation, call us at (415) 955-1155, ext. 120.  Or submit your matter through our online submission form.


REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE
  • Represented the victim in an impersonation lawsuit where the new girlfriend of the victim’s former partner created a fake Facebook profile in the victim’s name, posted private photographs of the victim, and invited the victim’s friends, family and work colleagues to join the profile. The firm prevailed at a jury trial on behalf of the victim and obtained a $250,000 jury verdict.
  • Represented the victim of domain name theft perpetrated by impersonating the victim, regarding a valuable two-letter domain name.
Read More
  • Represented a large non-profit organization in which a board member was impersonated in online discussion groups. The impostor had the board member making extreme and objectionable statements. The firm brought a “John Doe” lawsuit, discovered the perpetrator of the impersonation, and obtained a favorable settlement for the client.
  • Represented an international education organization in a fraud matter involving the defendant’s impersonation of an executive of the client to embezzle money.
  • Advised multiple executives of different businesses on how to address impersonation in social media. For many of these clients, the firm was able to stop the impersonation without the need to turn to litigation.

Have an Online Impersonation matter?

We welcome you to submit your details using our online case submission form

Submit your case online

OR

by giving us a call at

415-955-1155

ext. 120 for new legal matters

The lastest news & resources

Discover more about our firm and stay on top of internet-related legal issues

FTC Advertising Law Compliance
FTC Advertising Guidelines Series #1 - If You…

Running afoul of Federal Trade Commission advertising guidelines can have significant negative consequences for a business. It’s not uncommon for FTC enforcement actions to run…

Read More

Law Firm Updates
BASF Executive Committee Appointment - Liana Chen

Liana W. Chen has been selected for the Executive Committee of The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) Barristers Litigation Section. The Section’s mission is…

Read More

FTC Advertising Law Compliance
Alert - Immediate Action Needed Under California’s New…

While 2018 was all about GDPR Compliance, 2019 will be the year of the California Consumer Privacy Act, or "CCPA." If you haven’t heard, the…

Read More

FTC Advertising Law Compliance
Recent Enforcement by California District Attorney’s Offices

Over twenty District Attorney’s Offices in California are joining together on key enforcement issues. These “task forces” have been sending letters to companies to collectively…

Read More