Home > Contemplations > I Have A Twitter Impersonator! What To Do If This Happens To You

I Have A Twitter Impersonator! What To Do If This Happens To You

My Twitter Acct next to Impersonators

Hooray! Is that the reaction I should have? As most of you already know (and can see in the sidebar of this blog) my Twitter account is @TheDanLevy and it seems someone has taken the time to make the above account “@realDanLevy.” As you can see by the above screen shot the person who has chosen to impersonate me on Twitter with the aforementioned account has stolen my Twitter profile picture, directs people to the same personal URL as I do and claims in their bio that “I’m the real Dan Levy.” What you can also see is that they have been mirroring my tweets since the account was created (according to TweetDeck) Sun 25 Dec 2011 at 22:03. How are they mirroring my tweets? They are using a service called TwitterFeed which probably picks up the RSS feed of someone’s Twitter account and rebroadcasts it elsewhere, in this case to the impersonator’s Twitter account.

Twitter Impersonator Being Rude To My Friends

Truth be told, I’d be mostly fine with it if they weren’t doing two things:

  1. Being rude to my friends while appearing to be me as you can see in the tweet above (direct link here).
  2. Annoying my friends. They’re annoying my friends by double tweeting because every time I am in a conversation with someone, any of my tweets – including my replies – get tweeted again by this fake account. The only way around this would be to report the fake account as a spam account and block it.

What REALLY annoyed me is the fact that the person you see in the tweet above was in the middle of a stressful situation so the last thing she needed at the time was some giant jerk being rude to her.

Since I discovered this person today, I have apologized to all of my Twitter friends who this impersonator was being rude to (the above isn’t the only example).

Without any prompting whatsoever, my friends on Twitter have just been absolutely amazing. They have retweeted my messages telling people that the other account is not me, they have reported the other account as spam to Twitter, and they have just been there to talk smack about whoever the person is.

Twitter Help Center Impersonation Policy

According to the Twitter Impersonation Policy this person, whoever they are, is straight up in the wrong on their actions. As such, not only have I blocked them and reported them for spam – which I encourage you to do too – but I have filled out a form referred to as the Twitter Help Center Impersonation report. I would encourage you to do the same but if you go to it and tell Twitter that you are “a friend or fan of the person being impersonated“. They will tell you, as you can see below, that “[i]n order to investigate impersonation reports, we need to be in contact with the person directly involved, or someone authorized to act on their behalf.

Twitter Help Center Impersonation Report Friends Fan

I sent in my report at 7:54 PM EST so we will see how long it takes Twitter to get around to fixing this…especially with all the people who have been RTing my few tweets about it and reporting the impersonator as a spammer. Then again, it is the holiday season so it might take longer than I’d like it to…only time will tell but hey, at least I got a blog post out of it and a bit of instruction on what you can do and where to go to report impersonators of you if and when this kind of thing ever happens to you.

Sidenote: Did you know there are two ways to spell the word “impostor”? It can also be spelled “imposter.” I looked this up in numerous dictionaries and it doesn’t seem to be a UK vs US spelling of English. The word simply seems to have two spellings. Spell check seems to disagree with me on this but as I said, I have looked it up.That and my BlackBerry’s spell check prefers one spelling vs Google Chrome’s spell check which prefers the other. Weird, huh?

UPDATE 11:45pm EST:

Seems this person, whoever they are, decided to give up and fade into the night when they saw how many people were getting annoyed with their being annoying and crude. My “Twimposter” (credit for that term goes to @Fyrmedic654 via this tweet here) posted this tweet at 11:12PM EST while I was writing the blog post above.

Twitter Imposter Twimposter gives up

Shout out to my friend Damien aka @TsarKasim who brought that tweet to my attention. I said it once and I’ll say it again, I love my tweeps!

  1. Jackie
    December 27, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Omg Dan! That’s crazy that this happened. Good job on shutting it down!

    • December 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks Jackie! I am still awaiting Twitter’s reaction but am happy that because of so many awesome friends the person running the account decided to give up in just over 24 hours.

  2. Holly
    January 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    How’s it now? Did anything happen to the sad b*st**d!? And has twitter helped u in any way? cos u have to include loads of personal details like ur address don’t you bit creepy like but ahahha x

    • January 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Hey Holly,
      Thankfully as I said in my update the person is gone. Their account stopped tweeting as mentioned above and the next day it was deleted I don’t know who deleted it though because Twitter has since sent me an email that said they in the impersonation department had nothing to do with it.
      You actually don’t have to include any personal details in order to report these things. I did not need to include my address when I reported it. Including my address would serve zero purpose because Twitter didn’t know my address to begin with and I doubt the Ontario/Canadian government would just give out that information to company (so Twitter could verify it).

  3. September 2, 2013 at 10:13 am

    This just happened to me, though they didn’t go to the bother of pics and trying to match my account in any other way than to just use my name. It would seem those additional actions would be more troublesome to Twitter. Apparently it’s not a crime to use your name, even though it’s your name that appears anytime there’s an RT, and it’s your NAME that appears IN BOLD not your @username. I’m nobody. Who thinks up this garbage, and why would anyone bother? Spoiled brat jackholes have too much time on their hands and need to get jobs, IMHO. I’m glad yours was resolved quickly, Dan, and I’m grateful for your post. It was helpful.

  4. vesna k
    September 11, 2013 at 9:22 am

    How awful! How long did it take for twitter to get in touch with you and resolve this issue? Did they ever respond??

    • September 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      They never responded, no. However, my imposter’s account got shut down so I didn’t really need a response.

  5. Antonietta Baldwin
    November 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Could you help me? I am being impersonated by 3 people and I have proof. I am hurt and disgusted by these Twitter imposters. I don’t understand why they are doing this to me. A family member looked me up and saw disgusting quotes from the impersonators thinking this is me. I contacted Twitter and they’re saying I don’t have enough proof. How could that be when a search on the internet for my name is done I am the only owner in the world whom has it!! Is there anything you could do for me?

    • November 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      I looked for your impostors by googling and searching your name on Twitter and while I did find 3 accounts with the same name as you gave in your comment that doesn’t immediately make them an impostor. Names are not unique. The people I found aren’t using the same pictures as each other, don’t say they’re from the same place, and don’t seem to be pretending to be someone they aren’t. I very highly doubt you are the only person in the world who has your name but even if those folks are using the name as an alias, it may suck but they’re allowed to do it. I think anyone who is claiming that you are the one saying those things (and I didn’t even see anything problematic in the brief look I took at those accounts) is looking for something and wants to find something bad to say about you even if it is unwarranted.

      Unfortunately Antonietta, aside from what I have written in the original post I don’t know anything about the procedure for doing something about an impersonator on Twitter. As well, this entire post was written almost 2 years ago so, for all I know, Twitter has changed their rules and protocol for what one is to do in the case where they have an impersonator.

      I would report the offending accounts if I were you and file a complaint with Twitter as I did. If you have friends and followers you could have them report the accounts as well but beyond that I do not have any special formula for rectifying this issue.

      • ABaldwin
        November 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        Thank you for taking the time to look into my issue. One of the person’s who is using my name says on Twitter, “And I bagged my first white girl and she’s definitely the baddest lol.” (AntoniettaBald2). I find that offensive. The rules have changed on Twitter and parodies are allowed. I will report the offending accounts and file a complaint but not through Twitter. I already tried and they’re not helping me.

      • November 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

        Parody: “An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.”
        Impersonation: “An act of pretending to be another person for the purpose of entertainment or fraud.”

        Twitter does not care about parody but they do care about impersonation. In my case as I described in the original blog post they were using my tweets and my picture and PRETENDING TO BE ME. Someone having the same name as me is not pretending to be me they just happen to have the same name as me. Same goes for you. Even if someone is using the same name as the one you have if they are not trying to represent themselves as you they are not doing anything wrong. Trying to get people to believe they are you is fraudulent and considered impersonation. Having the same name does not count as fraudulently representing yourself as a different person, if that were the case can you imagine the issues we would have with all the people named John Smith!

        IMDB lists 19 different people with the name Dan Levy http://www.imdb.com/find?q=dan%20levy&s=nm&exact=true&ref_=fn_nm_ex who have been involved in movies/TV in one way or another. Never mind the rest of the world, that’s the TV/movie industry alone and doesn’t even include doctors and lawyers and plumbers and barbers and students and any other job you can think of. When I was living in a university dorm a decade ago there was a guy two floors up from me who was also named Dan Levy and we constantly got each other’s mail. Neither of us were impersonating or parodying the other it simply was our names were the same (except our middle initial). Neither of us demanded the other change their name because that would be silly.

        I really, very highly doubt there is anything you will be able to do about this since they are not – as far as I can tell – trying to pretend to be you. All of their pictures are different so they clearly aren’t trying to pretend to be the same person and they all claim to be from different places. If they were actually fraudulently trying to impersonate you they would have to be using some details from your life – ASIDE from your name – which would indicate to others that they are you. A name doesn’t count enough to be considered the same person. If it did I would be a writer for FLARE Magazine, the son of comic star Eugene Levy, a former host on MTV, a comedian in California, the man behind a regular sports podcast, the owner of the English Premiership soccer team Tottenham Hotspur.

        YellowPages.com found 27 listings for Dan Levy in the state of Illinois: That’s 27 people with the same name as me in one state. If you take a look at New York there are over a 100! I don’t think any of them are trying to impersonate me and I have no idea who any of them are.

        Until the person is trying to in some way represent themselves as you there is nothing you can do. If anyone thinks that those people are you, then those people probably want to believe bad things about you and it isn’t worth your time justifying yourself to them so don’t bother.

      • ABaldwin
        November 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm

        I feel better to hear your thoughts on my situation. I’ve been stressing and causing pain on my left shoulder for probably overreacting. You’ve made an excellent point and will not pursue further on the matter for it is not worth it, health wise. I am letting go and moving on. I deactivated my twitter and Facebook account not because of what is happening or my paranoia, it’s just time consuming. Again, thank you for peace of mind.

      • November 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        You’re welcome.

  6. ABaldwin
    November 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    How funny! I looked up the word impostor/imposter and noticed two ways of spelling it out before I read your post. It goes to show how involved I was at the time.

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