Nowadays, impersonating has become a real problem in the US especially when individuals pretend to be someone else through identity theft. So, they create Facebook accounts on Facebook and social media with someone else’s photos, name, number, email, etc… That’s not new, but for sure there are many ways to identify the person behind that Facebook account and find their real name and details.
So, in this guide, I’ll talk about why an unknown user on Facebook (or Instagram) tries to create a fake profile with somebody’s personal details like pictures, address, first name, last name, and more.
Find who is behind that impersonating account
If you want to uncover the identity of somebody who’s pretending to be you on Facebook and social media, you can use a search tool to help you trace that username on the internet. There is a chance that the person is also owning other accounts on different platforms with your photos and even contact details. That’s why it’s better to search that fake username and see who it belongs to with details if that’s possible.
Once you know the name of the fake user, make sure you run a background check on them to see from where they’re, what they do, and even see phone numbers, etc…
If you want to use Google, that can help, but it’s not always accurate, especially if different people use the same username across multiple social media apps. That being said, Google search is a great tool to search for profiles on the Internet.
How to report an impersonating account on Facebook
There is a contact form on Facebook that allows anyone even if he doesn’t use the platform to report fake profiles. That means you can report that a fake user is using your identity on Facebook by using this form. Once you’re on that page of the impersonating account, make sure you take note of the details you find associated with that unknown person that you need to report.
That should help the Facebook team to further investigate the account and know who is the person behind it. They know his phone number, email, and details like the IP address he used to create that account. So, if someone is pretending to be you on Facebook, the Meta company should know the location of the person and what ISP (Internet Service Provider), country, and IP that person is using.
If you see additional fake accounts on other people’s names or even celebrities, the same tool on Facebook lets you fill in the report. So it’s about protecting everyone from being another victim of identity theft.
Why do they create fake accounts in your name?
If you see that you have accounts on Facebook with your name on them, photo and even phone number and email address, then you should think about the reasons behind that. That could be one of your friends, ex-partner, colleague, or even a spammer and scammers from other countries and states. Now, take a look at the following reasons to understand the possibilities why you have accounts on social media that you never created or used.
He’s your previous boyfriend or ex-partner
This might look somehow strange for many, there is no reason for an ex-husband, boyfriend, or even girlfriend to create a fake Facebook account with your photos and details. But that happens a lot after separation and there are thousands of cases when one of the partners tried to cause issues to the other person through social media pages.
For that reason, it’s not an option to see who made that fake Facebook profile, and by using the above tips and tricks, you should have an idea about how to do that the right way.
Sometimes, you may need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Did something happen recently to your Facebook account?
- Can you review your login history?
- Did your ex talk about your social media a lot?
- If someone has tried to post something wrong about you in the past, then he may do it again on Facebook.
Relationships after divorce can be complicated for people with difficulties in all directions. That makes things even more out of control if the ex-spouse is trying to prove that his ex-partner is not as good as that person looks to date or marry again. After that, that guy may also do his best effort to show others every single fake detail about his ex and vice versa.
For that reason, it’s better to check if one of your associates, or relatives is trying to affect your social media presence. Just search for every account you have on social media that has your name on it, in addition, you should search for your cell number and email to see if there are hidden accounts linked to these details.
You’re dealing with an Internet scammer
This happens especially when the victim is a celebrity or well-known person. However, that can also happen to anyone else because scammers these days are more and more aggressive on social media sites. Consequently, the impersonating account on Facebook will use your real picture that the scammer found through Google or others search engines. Additionally, they might find your photos from your real Facebook account, Instagram, or another place on the Internet. Those users are catfishers and it’s not that complicated to identify them.
That’s why I don’t recommend sharing photos anywhere you go online, we’re in the age of no privacy, and if you think that the pictures you saved on cloud services or on Facebook are private, then reality tells us that they’re not. Many data leaks happen from time to time and the only way to secure your personal information and keep your photos safe is by not posting them, as simple as that.
Online reputation matters
Online reputation matters for personal accounts, especially when the managers want to look at some details to verify the background history and even education of candidates for work etc… But also, it’s not about work, in fact, relationships, marriage, and social life can be affected negatively when you have a bad reputation through fake accounts, pictures, posts, and details. Imagine when someone you don’t even know puts your full name on his fake account and adds photos, modified pictures, and bad stuff to make you look like a bad guy or girl on Facebook.
That’s not what you need at the end, and by posting negative comments about you online, those people will have what they were looking for. For that reason, it’s essential to search for yourself on the Internet and monitor your online presence not only on Facebook and social media but also on the dark web if you think that someone stole your personal details like numbers and photos.
A colleague or competitor
Do you have bad competitors in the workplace? And one of these guys is always trying to look better than you even if that needs causing problems for you in any way? Then, this indeed should be taken seriously. This is relatively true that the workplace is full of issues and competitors, but that does mean at 100% that your coworker is behind these fake accounts on Facebook.
That said, it’s worth doing some verifications to see if it’s really your colleague or someone else who made that account. Here is how to find someone’s IP address on Facebook Messenger the right way on your laptop with the Netstat. First, you may try to send a message to that person on Facebook and start a new chat.
Meantime use your Mac or Windows OS to execute a code or start a terminal. In a Mac, for example, you can search for the tool called “terminal” (command prompt) in the following steps:
- Click on the Launchpad from your Macbook or iMac
- Click on “Other” the small icon with multiple tools inside it
- Now, you can click on the terminal tool which is in black
- Finally, type this code to see all the connections in numbers and not in names format which is great for viewing someone IP when you’re chatting with them:
- In the list of IPs, you should view all the connections while you’re chatting or communicating with Facebook users through Messenger.
In the Terminal window, you’ll see columns named, foreign Address, from there, you’ll see the IP address of the other person if he’s chatting with you in real-time.
After that, take note of that IP (not yours) and use lookup tools to see the location behind it.
Keep in mind that from the list of those connections, you’ll also see the IP of Facebook servers in San Francisco, so skip those IPs for the Facebook system.
What if someone created other accounts?
I strongly recommend verifying that the scammer has not created other accounts on different social media sites with your photos. In other words, if a stranger created a fake Facebook account and used your real pictures there, that doesn’t mean they didn’t do the same on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. For that reason, it’s worth it to use one of your photos and search for the website where they have been shared or posted with the help of Google Images or reverse image search engines.
You need to expect different scenarios when others use your photos on social networks for suspicious reasons. For instance, type your name into the Instagram search bar and see if you have accounts you’re not aware of. There could be other users in the same name which may be legitimate. But once you see your photos on someone’s profile on Instagram, that’s a red flag of identity theft or stolen data if not attempting to scam others on your name.
What to do next?
Now, you should have an idea of why somebody will pretend to be you when they create a fake account on Facebook with one or more of your headshots, photos, and details. The first thing you should always do is identify those people and see all the possible information about them such as their real name, contact numbers, etc…
After that, take a screenshot of that fake account and ensure that you have different details like all the photos. Do that before you report that account to Facebook which is needed to prevent others from being scammed by that same user.
If that Facebook user asks you for money or other things, then you should never respond to them. They’ll do their best to show you that they can cause issues on social media. Even if they have one or more of your pictures that doesn’t mean they can lie to and try to encourage you to pay them for protecting your data. That’s also a popular strategy that happens with ransomware and you can protect yourself against that by using a good VPN, and always ensuring that your laptop software or phone OS is up to date.
If you feel exhausted by those spammers and you know that your personal details have been exposed in data breaches, then it might be worth it to use a professional identity monitoring and protection service and remove your details from the Internet.
Some of those solutions have different techniques to monitor the dark web for specific names, email, and contact details and then find the person who uses them. Think about that when you see that someone else is using your sensitive details online. But if you just found only one person using your photos on Facebook after verifying that of course, then that could be a spammer and you can report that easily.
If you create accounts on websites or other platforms with your photos and you forget about them, it’s time to remove your data. Those abandoned websites and profiles can easily make your picture and other details exposed to hacks and dangers. That means it’s a good idea to scan the web for your details and remove any sensitive data, not only pictures.
By finding that someone is pretending to look like you on Facebook when using your photos and matching their details with yours, you should first check who that person is with a username search. Next save the details you find and look if they have created more than one account on social media, after that, report those accounts to Facebook and make sure your details are safe online.
Finally, always take your personal information seriously and don’t share it through insecure connections including WiFi and websites you don’t trust. If you have doubts about websites you used in the past, visit them again and remove your accounts and photos from their databases. That’s better than finding other accounts on Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram with your family photos.