What to Do if Someone Is Impersonating You on Instagram


Worried that someone might be trying to assume your identity on Instagram? Here’s what you can do to prevent it, both now and for the future. With big parts of our lives moving online, scammers have become a little more creative when it comes to gaining access to our information. One of the ways that scammers take advantage of people is to impersonate legitimate accounts on social media, such as Instagram.

By impersonating someone on Instagram, bad actors can easily catfish unsuspecting strangers, solicit money, or acquire information that they can use to guess passwords or access financial accounts. So, how do you identify and prevent someone from impersonating you on Instagram? Let’s find out.

How to Stop Someone Who Might Be Posing as You on Instagram

When it comes to Instagram, here are all the steps you need to take when you suspect that someone is impersonating you.

Confirm That the Instagram Account Is an Imposter

With billions of people in the world, it can be hard to tell if someone is truly impersonating you versus simply sharing the same name. To confirm if an account is impersonating you, have a quick glance at their profile and see if their profile picture, posts, stories, or reels mimic yours.

Then, ask trusted friends or family members to direct message the account and see if their intentions are truly to take your identity.

Make Your Instagram Account Private

Once you confirm that someone is truly trying to impersonate you, the next step is to prevent exposing yourself even more. While it can be impossible to tell how much of your information and content the imposter already has on hand, it’s best to reduce their access to your existing posts.

Until you, Instagram, or someone else resolves the threat, it is best to keep a low profile and avoid posting unnecessarily—potentially revealing any additional information about yourself—by reverting your account to private.

To go private on Instagram, go to your Instagram profile and, in the top-right corner, tap the three horizontal lines.

Next, tap Settings > Privacy. Then, toggle on the button next to Private Account. Bear in mind that some account types like creator accounts cannot be private. If you have a creator account, you must switch to a personal account to do this.

Report the Imposter to Instagram

After securing your Instagram account privacy, the next step is to report the imposter to Instagram. While there is no set timeline for Instagram’s response, it is best to report an imposter as soon as possible.

To achieve this, go to their profile and select the three dots icon. Then, tap Report > Report Account > It’s pretending to be someone else > Me. Lastly, select Submit Report to confirm.

Instagram Form for Impersonation

Alternatively, if you are taking a break from Instagram, you can also file a report through this form.

To do this, select Someone created an account pretending to be me or a friend and choose Send. Afterwards, Instagram will request that you take a selfie and upload an official government photo ID. While there is no definite timeline, you can expect that Instagram will return the results of the investigation within a few days.

Bear in mind that for this to work, the name on your ID has to match your name on your existing account and the impersonating Instagram account. Even with a slight discrepancy, it’s not guaranteed that Instagram can help you. You can easily fix this by changing your Instagram handle on your real account to match that of your official ID.

Results of this process should arrive through email with the subject “Report an Impersonation Account on Instagram”.

Alert Friends, Family Members, and Followers About the Instagram Imposter

If possible, post on all existing social media platforms that you are currently experiencing a problem with someone impersonating you. Then, confirm which accounts are truly yours and ask your contacts not to engage with the imposter or click any links that they send.

In addition, ask your trusted contacts to share which of your accounts are real with your common friends. Then, request that they report the account for impersonation by going to the imposter’s profile and selecting the three dots icon.

Next, they should tap Report > Report Account > It’s pretending to be someone else > Someone I know. Then, select Submit Report to confirm.

How to Prevent Someone From Impersonating You on Instagram

If you want to prevent someone from impersonating you on Instagram, here are some things that you should consider doing.

Avoid Posting Too Much Personally Identifiable Information

For the longest time, it was common for people to post personal details that may initially appear harmless.

However, hackers can use many of these details, such as the name of your pets, birthdates, anniversary dates, and so on, to steal your identity. While we can’t take back what we’ve already posted, it’s best to reduce much of this information moving forward.

Don’t Post Real Addresses and IDs

When filing for an impersonation report, Instagram may need additional information to make sure that you’re the real deal.

For this reason, it’s best to never post things that reveal your real home address, phone number, or identification cards, as hackers can use these to claim your profile as their own.

Ask Your Instagram Followers to Keep an Eye Out

While imposters often try to block the account they are impersonating, they’re often not able to avoid the eyes of all your followers.

For this reason, it’s best to ask people you trust to keep an eye out for any possible imposters trying to claim your profile on Instagram, especially if it has happened before.

Own Your Instagram and Other Social Media Profiles

Regardless of whether you plan to be active on social media or not, it’s always better to own social media handles associated with your real name. Without a genuine profile to point to, your contacts, or Instagram, may not be able to confirm the identity of the fake one easily.

A key way to avoid being impersonated on any social media site is still to have a profile, even if it’s inactive. Aside from this, it’s important to be mindful of your social media use moving forward. As much as possible, don’t reveal more than you should and stay vigilant for any possible identity theft.