What are my options?

Report the accounts

All social media sites, as well as YouTube, provide clear paths for reporting impersonated accounts/accounts set up in your name.

Check out the icons below for more information on how to do this on the different platforms

Contact Netsafe for support

If you need help, advice or support with any kind of online issue, Netsafe can help.

They are a non-profit organisation with a helpline set up to help people with online safety and online issues.

Netsafe have years of experience in helping young people deal with harm online, their service is free and confidential.

Find out more by visiting their website or checking out the services section.


Let your friends know

Think about making a public post letting people in your life know that someone is pretending to be you.

This gives them a heads up not to accept friend requests or to be wary of communication or posts that seem a bit out of the ordinary.

They can also report accounts or posts directly to the platform or let you know about any communication they have had that you can then report.

You might also let them know that you will not be posting until the accounts have been taken down to avoid any confusion.  Keep in contact using text messages or other more private forms of communication.


Take a break

It could be a good idea to take a break from Social Media to give you some space from the confusion and drama.

Spend time in person with people you care about doing things you enjoy.


Check your privacy settings

How much personal information do you have publicly available?

The more there is out there, the easier it is for people to impersonate you and for that to move into the potential for identity theft or fraud.

Changing your settings so that your photos and private information is only able to be seen by friends can give you some protection (but not always).

Check the TAKING CHARGE section for how to do this.

If you receive emails or phone calls asking for your private information, be really wary.  This is very unusual.  Let them know that you will phone them directly to confirm what is going on (or visit in person if it is somewhere you can, the IRD for example) and use their main phone number.


Understand the difference between Impersonation and Fraud

Someone pretending to be you or using your private information is not against the law in NZ unless they do so for financial gain, it then becomes fraud.

Fraud is when they might open accounts or purchase things in your name.  It is a good idea to keep an eye on your bank statements to check if there are any transactions that you did not make.

Also be aware that if you get a bill in the mail for something you did not order, it could be worth following this up to put a stop to it (rather than ignoring it thinking it is a mistake).

For more information about identity theft, check out the resources available through CERT NZ and the Department of Internal Affairs.

For more information about legal steps, check out ‘The Law’ section below.