How to Report an Impersonation Account on Instagram
By Clare Edwards
Why Impersonate Someone on Instagram?
Aside from "spoof" accounts that exist to satirize a public figure, the main reason to impersonate someone on Instagram is to harass them or to harass other users. If Alice sets up an account in Bob's name, she can post images that might make him seem foolish or unpleasant. She could harass other users while pretending to be Bob, so that he gets blamed instead of her. She might also be able to trick some of Bob's friends into adding her to their networks, potentially allowing her access to content they've marked as friends only. By impersonating a business, the hoaxer can steal money from prospective customers or damage an organization's reputation.
What You'll Need to Make a Report
To report an account that's impersonating you, you'll need to be able to prove your identity. For this reason, Facebook (the owners of Instagram) require a clear photograph or scan of your photo ID. This could be your passport, driver's license or other official ID that includes your name and photograph. You'll also need to provide a link to the offending profile, as well as evidence that this account is posting as you, such as links to images, comments and other activity.
How to Find the Appropriate Web Form
Visit the Instagram Help Center. Go to the Privacy and Safety Center and select "Report Something." Here you'll find a list of options, including "Impersonation Accounts." Select this option. If the full text is not displayed, click or tap on "What Can I Do If Someone Is Impersonating Me on Instagram?" to open it. Select "Submit a Report" to be taken directly to the appropriate page to make a report, or see the Report an Impersonation Account link in Resources.
Making a Report
After you're on the Report an Impersonation Account on Instagram page, you'll see two radio buttons -- one to report individual accounts, the other for businesses or organizations. Select the appropriate radio button for your situation, and then indicate whether you're reporting on your own behalf or someone else's. On the next page, enter your name, your email and your mailing address, and then select "Send" to proceed. You'll be notified that a false report could constitute perjury; indicate that you understand and want to proceed by selecting the "Yes" radio button. Select "Send" to proceed. Provide evidence of fraudulent activity and upload your photo ID when prompted. If you have trouble sending the image via your mobile device, try accessing the form from your desktop instead.
Legal Avenues to Explore
The remedies available to you via Instagram are largely limited to the closure of the offending account. If you're unsatisfied with this, you could consider legal action against your impersonator. This is unlikely to be successful unless you can demonstrate that you have been harmed in some way, for example, by loss of earnings. Some states, including California, now have laws criminalizing some kinds of impersonation. If you believe that these are relevant to your situation, you could contact law enforcement to report your impersonator.
Clare Edwards has been providing Internet content since 1998. She has written and translated for a variety of markets: everything from technical articles to short fiction and essays on alternative spirituality. She holds a certificate of higher education in electronics and audio arts from Middlesex University.