Copycats and Catfish – We’ve all heard the terms before, but what are they? Who are they? and most importantly, what do they want?
Essentially, they take someone else’s pictures and maybe their name and pretend to them online, often for their own financial gain. This can happen on any online platform, from dating apps to Facebook.
Recently, my personal Instagram account was copied, a new account was made and had everything from my original account word for word, post for post (they even put my cat’s name in the bio!!)
The person controlling the account then began to message people that I had been following on my own account, friends, family etc. and asked them for their numbers saying that they were going to send them vouchers for Tesco. I immediately began getting messages from people telling me about the copycat. One of my friends even fell for the scam and text me in a panic after finding out it wasn’t me.
What did I do?
a. I ran around the house freaking out.
b. Started crying.
c. Felt incredibly guilty for my friend who was potentially going to be scammed.
So, what should you do?
Once I had calmed down,
a. I put a post on my Instagram story, with a screenshot of the fake account, letting people know that it was not me.
b. Asked everyone to report it & Reported it to Instagram myself.
c. Reminded people to not give them their number!
The account was taken down within the hour, but I still don’t know who the copycat was or why they chose my account. I’ll probably never know. But the point of this post is that it can happen to anybody.
The most important thing to do if someone is impersonating you online or using your photos is to let people know as soon as you find out. The easiest way to do this is to make a post on your social account (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) – let your followers know what has happened and ask them to report the account.
If an account receives multiple reports in a short space of time, it will be flagged and likely removed. This is the fastest way to get the account taken down. Failing this, contact the service provider directly yourself and file an official report with them.
Lastly, stay calm. It’s a horrible experience, it feels very weird and violating, but it will get sorted! As I said, it can happen to anyone, you’re not alone!