Impersonation / Identity Theft
Throughout the United States, updated federal and state laws have been enacted to protect people conducting lawful web-based business ventures as well as those people using electronic or internet-based social media sites. Even though these laws are conspicuously published in most states, a majority of U.S. citizens are not aware of the specifics of the laws and may subject themselves, either intentionally or unintentionally, to either criminal or civil liability should they assume a false identity or improperly identify themselves as someone else on a web-based business or social media site.
As an example, The MPM Group, Inc., as well as their subsidiary Social Media Identity Verification (MPM/SMIV), is a New Jersey based business entity. Therefore, any person pretending to be someone else anywhere online such as national dating sites (i.e. Match.com, eHarmony, etc.), Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, or other similar web-based social media sites, may be considered guilty of a crime, or tortuous act, in the State of New Jersey. Specifically, New Jersey Statute 2C:21-17 is about Impersonation and Theft of Identity. It states in pertinent part: “A person is guilty of a crime if the person engages in one or more of the following actions by any means including, but not limited to, the use of electronic communications or an Internet website:
● Impersonates another or assumes a false identity and does an act in such assumed character or false identity for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another;
● Pretends to be a representative of some person or organization and does an act in such pretended capacity for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another;
● Impersonates another, assumes a false identity or makes a false or misleading statement regarding the identity of any person, in an oral or written application for services, for the purpose of obtaining services;
● Obtains any personal identifying information pertaining to another person and uses that information, or assists another person in using the information, in order to assume the identity of or represent himself as another person, without that person’s authorization and with the purpose to fraudulently obtain or attempt to obtain a benefit or services, or avoid the payment of debt or other legal obligation or avoid prosecution for a crime by using the name of the other person.”
[Most, if not all, states have a similarly worded statute]
In compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), Clients should be aware that the FCRA states in pertinent part, “…(B) by way of clarification…” a person may use this type of information for the following specific purposes: (1) to verify or authenticate an individual’s identity; (2) to prevent or detect fraud or any other unlawful activity…”
For more information, see the complete MPM/SMIV Disclaimer contained herein and the specific statutory information found at Title 5, U.S.C., § 1681, et seq. The laws of the State of New Jersey shall govern the validity, interpretation, construction and enforcement of this, and/or any other, MPM/SMIV Agreement.