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 latest news & resources

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

News
How to Get Consumer Consent Under Advertising and…

Multiple advertising and privacy laws outline requirements for getting consumer consent to use personal information, including for marketing or other purposes. While many companies realize…

Read More

News
How to Bind Users to Website Terms of…

Website terms of service, which often include arbitration provisions with class-action waivers, are often of critical importance to businesses transacting online. However, these online agreements…

Read More

News
Are You Selling a Coaching Service or Work-at-Home…

 Understand the Legal Risks.With COVID-19/Coronavirus mandating many to stay at home, and with millions of layoffs, more businesses are selling work-from-home opportunities or coaching services…

Read More

News
What You Need to Know to Market CBD…

Cannabidiol (“CBD”) sales are growing, but there is often confusion about how to lawfully market CBD products. To make matters more serious, the Federal Trade…

Read More