A copycat Instagram account refers to an account on Instagram that appears almost exactly identical to an authentic account. Over the years, countless copycat accounts have been reported on Instagram, following which Instagram has removed those accounts from the platform. Despite these removals, copycat accounts still exist on Instagram and continue to mislead users.
The best ways to deal with copycat Instagram accounts involve recognizing them and reporting them to Instagram. However, if you’re new to the vast world of Instagram, it can be difficult for you to tell if someone is impersonating you. That’s why we’ve compiled this detailed guide for you – so you can identify an account that’s posing as you and report it sooner rather than later. So, without any further delay, let’s get this guide going.
How to recognize copycat accounts
Before you deal with a fake account on Instagram that’s impersonating you, you need to first find out if there are one or more imposters who are posing as you. To do this, you can employ a variety of methods.
The first method involves using Google search. Here’s how you can identify copycat Instagram accounts using Google:
- Step 1: Open Google search and in the search bar, enter your Instagram name followed by the word ‘Instagram’. Once you’ve entered your search query, perform the search.
- Step 2: Next, the search engine result page (SERP) will appear. At this point, if there are people impersonating you on Instagram, multiple results will appear. Of course, your official page will also be included in the results.
- Step 3: Click on each link to find out who’s impersonating you. You should remember that there may be instances of other users sharing the same Instagram name who aren’t actually imposters.
The best way to check for imposters using this method is to check for accounts that are using your photos. This is a telltale sign of fake accounts that you should report without further delay.
Alternatively, you can use Instagram’s search function to identify fake accounts as well. Also, keep your Instagram followers vigilant regarding any suspicious activity that may be carried out by an account bearing your Instagram name. In such as scenario, your followers may alert you if they receive requests on Instagram from a fake account.
Precautions to take after you’ve identified copycat accounts
Don’t proceed directly to reporting the imposter accounts immediately after you’ve identified them. At this point, it’s important to take the following precautions:
- Make your account private temporarily: The identification of one or more imposter accounts means that the user(s) handling the fake accounts already have access to some of your information. In such a scenario, you should ensure that any further exposure of your information is restricted. That’s why the first step to take is to make your account private temporarily. To do this, go to the Privacy page in Settings and turn on the button beside Private Account. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t allow creator accounts to be made private. So, if you’re using Instagram as a creator, you have to first manually change into a personal account and then switch on the Private Account option.
- Block the imposter accounts: Another thing to do following the identification of imposter accounts is to block them all individually. This will prevent them from stealing further information from your account. Once you’ve made your account private and blocked all imposter accounts, you can proceed to report them.
How to report copycat Instagram accounts
Finally, it’s time to report all the fake accounts to Instagram. Here are the steps you need to follow for reporting accounts:
- Step 1: Go to the Instagram profile of the user who’s impersonating you.
- Step 2: Tap on the three-dot menu next to the account name of the imposter.
- Step 3: A drop-down menu will appear with the ‘Report User’ option. Tap on it.
- Step 4: At this point, a list of potential reasons for reporting the account will appear. Select ‘Other’.
- Step 5: Selecting ‘Other’ will lead to the appearance of another list, which will contain an option called ‘Impersonation’. Select it.
You should repeat these steps if there are multiple imposter accounts in your Instagram name. Also, encourage your followers to report these accounts as well. Quite simply, when multiple users report an account to Instagram, action will be taken much more quickly compared to an account being reported by just one user.
How does Instagram respond to imposters being reported
Instagram’s response to your report isn’t instant. So, you’ll have to wait for a few hours/days to understand how Instagram has responded to your report. Typically, this is what happens after you report an impostor account to Instagram:
- First, your report will be reviewed by the platform and the account(s) you’ve reported will be examined by Instagram to determine if it is, indeed, an imposter.
- If the account you’ve reported is deemed to be an imposter by Instagram, the platform will notify the user operating the account and remove it.
There’s still a lack of clarity in terms of how quickly Instagram takes action once an account is reported and who conducts the checks to determine fake accounts. So, all in all, there’s still some work that Instagram can put in for resolving these issues quickly.
Preventing Instagram impersonation: The top tips
Instagram impersonation doesn’t just involve minor fraud – it can be used by malicious users to steal crucial information such as bank account details and money from unsuspecting users. The good thing is that once you’ve reported one or more fake accounts to Instagram, you can take the following steps to prevent another future case of impersonation:
- Never share details of your IDs and real-world addresses: Instagram isn’t a place where you can share critical ID and address details and expect them to stay safe. Malicious users are always on the lookout for opportunities to steal information, so always steer clear of sharing such details openly on Instagram. Also, be cautious regarding DMs sent by other users asking for such information. These users may tempt you with attractive offers and rewards, but almost always, their intentions are dubious.
- Avoid sharing personally identifiable information: Anniversary dates, birthdays, and the names of your pets – this type of information is referred to as personally identifiable information. Ideally, you shouldn’t share such information either. Users with malicious intent will find it incredibly easy to impersonate you if they have access to these details. Of course, there’s no way of reversing personally identifiable information that you’ve already posted, unless you manually revisit all the posts and delete them. However, going forward, it’s best to keep such information out of your Instagram account.
- Take as much help as possible from your closest people: Your friends, family, and other Instagram followers who care for you are always there by your side. That’s why you should always tell them to be vigilant of any suspicious activity from one or more accounts that may be operating in your name. Often, these are the people who first spot imposters and report them to the users operating genuine and authentic accounts.
Get your Instagram account verified
The best way for dealing with potential future impersonation attempts on Instagram is to get your account verified. Verified business, celebrity, and brand accounts on Instagram bear the signature blue tick, i.e. after successful verification, your account too will feature a blue tick beside your account handle. The blue tick is helpful in terms of telling other Instagram users that your account is authentic and any other accounts operating in your name are fake.
You can take the following steps to get your account verified by Instagram:
- Step 1: Go to your Instagram Settings and select the ‘Request Verification’ option.
- Step 2: You will be given a form to fill up at this stage. Fill it up with all the appropriate details. You’ll also have to submit a digital version of a valid photo ID.
- Step 3: Once you’ve submitted all the necessary details, click on the ‘Send’ option.
After you send the verification information to Instagram, it may take a few days for your request to be processed. How much time Instagram takes to process your request depends on the data Instagram has to review to make sure that your account, is indeed, an authentic one.
In some cases, if insufficient data is submitted, users’ verification requests may be rejected. If the same happens to you, don’t worry, you can request for verification again 30 days after you receive the notification of the rejection of your request.
During your wait for the blue tick, you should link your Instagram account to your other social media accounts on platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Also, link your account to your official website.
So, now that we’ve given you all the information you could need and want for recognizing and reporting copycat accounts, we hope you can keep your account safe from potential imposters.
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