The New York Personal Injury Blog

What To Do if You're the Victim of Catfishing

If your photo has been misused online, you're probably very upset.

It might have been an innocent case of you appearing at a party in a compromising position (i.e., you had too much to drink) and now, you don't want your coworkers to see the photo.

Or, it may have been something more serious like catfishing, which is the creation of a fake profile using your likeness in order to "catch" an unsuspecting victim for fraudulent purposes.

What are the steps you should take to get your photo taken down, and can you sue? Here are some potential suggestions:

Step 1. Contact the website. Call them or email them; there may even be a convenient button or link to report fraudulent activity. The only problem is that they may receive calls daily to get photos removed and can't remove every one. So unless your photo depicts something illegal (i.e., its pornographic) or it contains a minor's photo, it's unlikely that the photo sharing company will be too sympathetic.

Step 2: File a police report. If you're a victim of catfishing, you can call the police and file a police report. The person using your profile could be an online scammer looking to extort money from people. Authorities take this kind of thing seriously.

Step 3: Call a lawyer. If you decide to sue, you'll need evidence of the identity of the perpetrator. But photo-sharing sites won't give you access to too much information without a subpoena. To sue for potential invasion of privacy, you will need to establish fault.

You can also possibly sue for defamation, if your reputation has been harmed by an untruthful publication. But as with invasion of privacy, you'll need to prove some specific elements. That's why it's wise to talk with a New York personal injury lawyer to discuss your options if you're ever a victim of catfishing.

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