New law protects victims from being taken advantage of through impersonation

On June 7, 2012 a Washington State law protecting victims of online impersonation went into effect. Under the law, humiliating, defrauding, or malicious impersonation on social networks, online bulletin boards or forums can now be grounds to file a lawsuit.

While online sites can provide an opportunity for networking, there are also opportunities for harmful conduct. Using another person’s name without their consent may mislead, deceive, harass or intimidate which the courts have recognized as possible fraud.

How does the impersonation law protect me and what can I do?

Under the new law a person may be able to make a civil claim if:

  1. The person impersonates another actual person on a social networking web site or online bulletin board;
  2. The impersonation was intentional and without the actual person’s consent;
  3. The person intended to deceive or mislead for the purpose of harassing, threatening, intimidating, humiliating, or defrauding another, and
  4. The impersonation proximately caused injury to the actual person. Injury may include injury to reputation or humiliation, injury to professional or financial standing, or physical harm.

Where can I find more information on the Washington Impersonation Law

To read the specifics regarding the impersonation law please click the following link:

Washington is one of six states to implement an online impersonation law to protect users from misconduct. Other states aside from Washington with implemented online impersonation laws include California, New York, Mississippi, Hawaii and Texas.