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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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What constitutes coercion in the UK and when is impersonating

Customer Question

What constitutes coercion in the UK and when is impersonating someone illegal? I have a hypothetical situation which I need someone familiar with the legal system to answer me please
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok I have been approached by a friend who claims that someone has been impersonating me via a internet communications software, I am not person with fame. So however, this friend of mine was fooled that it is him and I believe certain exchanges were intimate or whatsoever, i'm not sure the full content of this. But I think the context was that this person had used my picture, but not my full name. All of the pictures I think was obtained through my social media website. However, I went on to believe that such a person was making unreasonable demands, not known whether to be unwarranted or offered by my friend. But it is all in the confusion that it is me and I have no idea who this person is. What's the legal situation here and what are my rights? PS this person might not even be in the UK

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Its difficult to tell really what offences could have been committed here without full vision of the case.

Generally there is no offence in impersonating somebody unless you do so for fraudulent purposes or, of course, to commit any other offence. Obviously one reason people do often use the identify of others is to commit fraudulent offences or other offences.

The fact that he may not be in the UK is not a bar to prosecution in legal theory because part of the offence was committed in the Uk although in practice the police are not likely to want to extradite a person abroad for these offences even if they can be found.

I'm not sure what you mean by unreasonable demands? It might amount to blackmail. Your friend would be the victim of that though rather than you.

You would only become a victim if you had suffered some clear offence - like, for instance, using your identity he had tried to gain access to your account.

Its probably worth reporting it anyway. Even if there are no offences you will still get a crime number and then you will have flagged up the issue of identity theft so that if offences are committed in your name later you will be in a stronger position to defend them.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok so for impersonating someone, the person will have to have the intention for defrauding me or using my identity to defraud a person in order for it to be a criminal offence.


I believe yes the person was blackmailed but then he himself offered the solution to the blackmail instead of the person demanding for it, after asking the person, the occassion was that he was merely discussing disadvantageous materials against such person, and out of fright, he offered a solution to settle, however, it was not involved in monetary value. Hence, I don't think this could be pursued if I am correct?


What would a clear offence constitute as? If he uses my name to social engineer certain things I do not believe this is also criminal?


Hence, in such a case the prospects of the police doing anything would be bleak if I am correct? Could I sue with civil proceedings?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Could this be fraud by false representation?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Would this be better classed as a hoax than a fraud though ?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Well, or committing any other offence.

Its unlawful to commit any offence in whatever name you use.

I'm sorry but Im not sure what you mean about blackmail. If you tell me what actually happened then I will tell you whether its blackmail or not.

Again I'm not sure what you mean about social engineering?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Problem is, it's not a full name, neither it is my legal name but a commonly known name of myself, but also, they used a publicly shared photo and that's all I believe. As I said, but what happened was that the person was hinting that they would not delete something which my friend has sent him after asking him to delete, which then he considers the material itself is threatening, hence wilfully and justifiably offered a solution to the problem himself, but I do not believe that there were any demands by the impersonator and the conversation of this has already been deleted...

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
That still probably does amount to impersonation of you.

The question is whether what has been done ostensibly as you amounts to an offence.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok is blackmailing a crime if in the case that there was no monetary demand or provable loss of my friend, however there were hints or possibly blackmailing I think. So when does it constitute to be a crime in blackmailing. Also could impersonation be defamatory?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No. Blackmail requires a demand which means gain or loss and that has generally been interpreted to mean a monetary sum.

No, impersonation is not defamation.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Joe I have one more question about blackmailing which is slightly off topic, would I start a chat with you which won't last more than 15 minutes please? Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
We can only have contact online under the rules of this site Im afraid.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No chat via the site, i meant.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
There is only one site?

Im not sure what you mean by the chat site.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm sent a question to you which I wish to be answered via chat form

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Best of luck.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Could you pick it up please? It says For Jo C. Thanks

Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.
Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.

I see the expert has opted out - could you summarise what else you want to know?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can you pick up one of the chat questions I have asked please?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.
Yes of course. Please remember to leave feedback on this answer too.


Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.
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