What can you do if a student impersonates you on the Web?


There was a great article in the April edition of the NEA magazine on this very issue. The articles described three people who were victims of this crime. Yes, it is a crime, and depending on the state, the person can be prosecuted for criminal libel, fraud or identity theft.

In one of the stories a teacher was immediately suspended with pay until an investigation was done, which took weeks. In another, a teacher is being sued for alerting a vice principal (another victim) of a falsified site. In two of the three cases students were disciplined by the school and were sanctioned by the courts, the third case is still pending. IN all of the cases, the fake sties were created on computers off campus.

What can you do if someone creates a fake profile on MySpace using your image and name?

  • IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY MySpace that someone has created an imposter profile and ask that it be taken down. Te site has created a special form just for teachers and faculty members to report this sort of abuse.
  • CONTACT LOCAL LAW enforcement officials. Depending on state law, the person may have committed a crime such as identity theft. Also, MySpace won't help identify the person without a subpoena.
  • INFORM THE SCHOOL administration so that appropriate disciplinary action can be taken.
  • CALL YOUR LOCAL UniServ Rep. As one of the teachers in the article found out, there's always a chance school officials might come after you.