General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

What specific crime is being committed by writing something and impersonating someone else?

Asked by LostInParadise (29137points) November 30th, 2020
5 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

Is impersonation in general considered a crime? What if you just claim credentials that you do not have? Libel would not seem to apply.

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elbanditoroso's avatar

The key is – intent to defraud or deceive. And defraud isn’t just money, it’s acting and speaking in another person’s place,

Credentials (claiming you have when you don’t) is definitely fraudulent. People get fired and sometimes go to jail for that.

An example: Let’s say that I wrote an essay on foreign policy and I signed it as Henry A Kissinger (former secretary of state). That would be deceptive and he could sue me for the use of his name and for damaging his reputation.

LostInParadise's avatar

So you are saying that the charge would be fraud?

jca2's avatar

Good point by @elbanditoroso. Impersonating Elvis and signing autographs Elvis wouldn’t be fraudulent, because everyone would know you’re not Elvis. Impersonating the Four Tops or Diana Ross would not be fraudulent because everyone knows you’re not the Four Tops or Diana Ross. Signing checks with your brother’s name would be fraudulent, because your intent would be to deceive. There are probably other, specific charges depending on where you live and what the laws are there.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

In Illinois, the crime is “false personation”. When I studied for the private investigator exam, they made sure we knew to never claim you are a public safety employee like a cop or firefighter, and never falsely claim you work for any company.

For example, dressing in coveralls, bringing a package and ringing a doorbell is an OK way to reach someone face to face. But dressing in a UPS uniform would make it a crime.

Illinois Statutes Chapter 720. Criminal Offenses §-2.False personation;  solicitation

Jeruba's avatar

Identity theft?

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