It Happened to Me: Someone Stole My Identity on Instagram

So I was innocently scrolling through Instagram last week and was utterly disturbed to see a certain familiar face in my suggested users to follow. 

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ME. It was me.

Let’s unpack this:

@planejanelind

A very odd choice, honestly. Why plane? Like airplane?? Or is it like a mathematical plane and it’s a reference to my currently declared math major that I absolutely need to drop down to a minor? Is it meant to be a play on the phrase plain Jane? Because it’s poorly done and I barely get it.

The profile photo.

Okay, this makes me feel a little weird because the photo this person chose for the profile is from a post in January. And it was the third photo in one of those multiple-image posts. That is to say, they went deep for it. But way weirder…

The singular post.

This photo isn’t even taken from my Instagram. This is a photo from May 26, 2015 in my TAGGED PHOTOS. As in, they went VERY DEEP for it.

The bio: “Welcome 2 the new Jane”

This is straight up terrifying. What does that even mean???? The NEW JANE???? That sounds like they’re legitimately trying to steal my identity and take over!! And nice try with the numeral 2, you’re not fun, nor are you casual, old pal!!! I mean, I am truly bamboozled.

The caption to the singular post: “Here I am once again”

An iconic line from Kelly Clarkson’s 2005 hit “Behind These Hazel Eyes.” This seems to be another reference to this being another version of Jane, the new Jane, and perhaps the song indicates that this new Jane, unlike the real Jane, has hazel eyes, and you won’t get to see the tears she cries behind those hazel eyes.

The followers.

Of the 30 followers, most of them were Kenyon students, some that I know, some that I just know of, and some that I am very close friends with. It kinda feels dirty that this person tricked my friends into thinking they were me—doesn’t it? Like a little grimy? I also can’t help but wonder why this person only targeted Kenyon people. None of my high school friends were in the mix— coincidence? Doubtful. This character probably goes here.

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The followers unrelated to Kenyon in any way are these: airkevswagg, david_pembele, landumakanda, luabingikabemba, and kontopoulou_m. These people are likely insta-randos, those people who are deeply lost in the platform and follow complete strangers in a seemingly random fashion. David Pembele is my favorite of the bunch. As his most recent post advises, “your enemies think they’ve destroyed you, and God uses their actions to raise you” (translated from French).

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Ok now this is where my analysis gets a little crazy.

So the singular post is from June 15. First of all, wow. This poser was out in the world for FOUR MONTHS before I learned of their existence. Terrible. Awful. Spooky shit. Okay but guess where I was on June 15? Driving up to my summer camp to be a counselor. Guess what I did only a few days later? Turned my account private so my campers can’t see my shit and because it’s camp policy. You may be wondering, “huh. I wonder why they only ever posted one thing on this fake Jane account?” Well ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I pose to you this argument. This identity thief had to stop posting photos of me because they lost access to my account, because I went private, because they don’t follow me, because WE’RE NOT FRIENDS. Therefore! I claim that the person behind the account IS a Kenyon student, but NOT someone I know. If only it was a friend of mine pulling a little prank on me, or at least a fan account made by a sorta-creepy-but-at-least-nice(?) acquaintance, but no. This fool is probably a TOTAL STRANGER. I rest my case that this is real scary shit.

How does this story end? Well I attempted to contact the account. All I could think to message them was “HellooOOo?” But they never responded. I reported the account for impersonation and it was quickly taken down by Instagram. I had to prove my identity by sending them a selfie with my driver’s license, which felt oddly official and sketchy at the same time. But alas, I never found out who dun it. And I don’t think I ever will. I’ll just have to continue living my life in fear, looking over my shoulder in Peirce, wondering, do they live among us?

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If anyone has any further information about the person behind this account or any possible explanations as to why an account like this was made, please contact me. I am truly struggling to come up with any sort of viable reasoning as to why this happened. Seriously, let me know. And stay safe out there folks. The internet is a scary place.

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