Okay, here is my Twitter profile: http://twitter.com/arindamc
Below is the screenshot of my profile (my profile is distinguishable by its "AC" logo btw):
And here is the "fake" profile: http://twitter.com/arindamc1
And screenshot of the same (notice the identical spelling of the proper name as well as almost 99% similarity of the username with mine):
I label him as an imposter for some pretty obvious reasons. I will explain them a bit:
a) Reason#1: I certainly don’t claim to be the only "Arindam Chakraborty" from India (heck, a simple Google search would tell you that). But, how come the spelling of his name is exactly same as mine? Okay, maybe a strange coincidence.
b) Reason#2: His profile id is same as mine, except that it is followed by the integer "1" (I bet this has to do with the fact the ID "arindamc" is reserved by me, thus he simply could not get an identical ID without adding a number or alphabet to it; had I been not on Twitter, he would have certainly taken on my identity completely; this in turn prompts me know to setup accounts in almost all the major social networking sites out there, whether I use them or no)!
c) Reason #3: He has 0 followers, although he is following 17 people (yep, including me; his guts are simply amazing). That kinda looks suspicious to me. When I opened my first twitter account I had very few followers compared to the number of people I were following; yet, within a couple of days of opening an account, I had around 2-3 followers (as far as I can tell)!
d) Reason#4: His tweets are protected: Okay, he may have personal reasons for hiding himself from public (after all, he is a criminal of sorts)!
e) Reason#5: He neither offers a link to his website nor any description of the type of person he is. Now, do imposters really have any unique identity or website of their own? Why would they have? After all, their main job is to benefit from someone else’s identity and reputation!
f) Reason#6: He does not even offer a description of his profession. Oh well, perhaps "cyber squatting" is his only (illegal) profession! ;)
The problems of impersonation, identity theft and cyber-squatting are faced by celebrities all the time. Naturally your first thought on reading this article would be: "Why the hell would someone bother to impersonate a Nuttie Guru?" Exactly, that is the first thought I had too the moment I noticed his profile, and I am yet to find an answer to that question!
Now, the "impersonation" thing would have made sense if I were a Ashton Kutcher, Barrack Obama, Matt Cutts or John Reese (hey, they are paying the price of being a famous personality); however, I am neither! I am just a commoner. So how could anyone benefit from "cloning" a "Nut-Headed Nuttie Guru" is something that is as vague and mysterious to me as the reason behind customers turning so benevolent as to giveaway valuable products (they paid big cash for) to their friends and strangers alike!
Twitter impersonation is nothing new or uncommon, and while they have a loud and clear policy against impersonation, I am not sure how active they are in enforcing the same. I am still waiting for a reply to a support ticket I logged around October 20th. Twitter is notorious for a "minimum 1-week support delay", so I will wait and watch! Granted it is a "free" service, but keeping in mind its ever-increasing size and popularity, I suppose that it needs to charge clients for offering "priority" support (which is a MUST for kicking out the ever-growing number of imposters on the social networking site)!
Cyber squatting is something even Indian celebs are facing, and most of them, not being very "active" online (unlike their Western counterparts), are finding it a real and unexpected pain in the rum.
When John Reese was impersonated by another Twitter user I told about it to my friend Angela and joked that no one would ever bother to do it to me as I am a nondescript guy. That was just a few months ago I think! And here we go…
Generally, people impersonate high-profiles celebs all the time, as I said earlier. The reasons behind such impersonation may vary, including but not limited to:
a) Getting a strange high (people with an inferiority complex may get a "high" by impersonating the rich and famous)!
b) Malicious intent (of harming the reputation of a celebrity or close personal/professional competitor, the reason being JEALOUSY; again, people with an inferiority complex or a similar psychological problem usually indulge in such practices).
c) Monetary benefit (by blackmailing the person he is impersonating, he can squeeze out a lot of money; in fact, "domain name squatting" is just a way of blackmailing the high profile people).
Now, do any of the above reasons apply to me?
As for (a), I am a commoner, as I already said. Think about it, compared to Mike F or John R, how many people on the web know me-really? :D
b) Malicious intent could be a possibility, but again, I don’t have that much reputation yet. I am still building my online reputation, so am not exactly sure about it. Umm, btw someone else in my shoes finds herself at the receiving end of Twitter imposters! So I guess I am not the only "commoner" to have this problem! :D
Reason (c) Blackmailing: Hmm?
If you feel that I am right in concluding that this Twitter user is an impersonator, would you please be so kind as to report this profile as spam?
I would really appreciate it! :)
Not only he is spamming the web, impersonation in itself is a big crime in almost all countries (per my knowledge); he is pretty much trying to steal my identity and hoping to carve a niche for himself this way (even though I know he won’t be successful). I have already reported his profile to Twitter, but the more people report his profile the faster Twitter would take action against the imposter. Again, I thank you in advance for your help and cooperation in this!
Things I can/could do:
a) Ask for a verified account at twitter: In fact I have already sent a support request regarding it some months ago; however they have not responded yet! I am left to guess the reason behind their license: maybe they don’t think I am famous enough to be impersonated. Twitter says that account verification service is not available to businessmen, yet I see a few big time IM gurus flaunting the "verified" badge from Twitter; this tells me something! This article gives a hint that Twitter may start charging a fee for "verifying" business accounts sooner or later!
b) Signup at validzie.com: However, as of now they are available only to US citizens! :(
c) Sue the imposter: This is what I might have to do as a last resort, in case the situation gets out of hand!
d) Change my twitter account password: I have already done that. In fact, as soon as I noticed the "fake" profile, the first thought that ran on my mind is that the next he might try to do is to hack into my Twitter account and access my "private info" – thereby making himself the "ULTIMATE" Nuttie Guru. ;)
My aim behind making this post is two-fold:
a) I want to let you know who is real (and who is not), so that the next time you notice more than 1 Nuttie Guru hovering on the WWW, you don’t get confused, lol :D
b) I hope someone from Twitter management stumbles upon this post and removes the impersonator’s account.
Note to the Imposter: If you are reading this article, I have got only one thing to tell you – you are just a "retarded idiot"!
a) "Retarded" because you lack enough brains to pick the "right" person for impersonating. If you really want to benefit by stealing others’ identity, at least have some sense and impersonate some big time guru; that might make you a few dimes at Clickbank, if at all; however, impersonating me would take you NOWHERE!
b) "Idiot" because if you had brains (which you obviously don’t have as proved above), you would have spent your time in building your own unique identity and brand (rather than taking on someone else’s identity), as that is what would help you long term!
c) Not to mention that I can, if I want, sue you (impersonation is a big crime in India, so don’t think you can "hide" behind the curtain of anonymity and do whatever you like!)