#Legal Sense

Fraudulent Impersonation

By Funmilayo Olagunju

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Impersonation by the way is a question of one claiming to be who he/she is not.

See the case of UAM & ORS V. ANONGI (2021) LPELR-57912(CA).

Impersonation is that act of imitating or copying the act of another person who is either alive or dead. The purpose of impersonation could be for entertainment (prank) or to acquire an undue advantage.  Fraudulent impersonation is a criminal act of making a representation as another person or entity in a bid to gain some advantage or escape liabilities.

For instance, the act of sending electronic mails to a person or group of people impersonating a reputable person or organization is a contemporary example of fraudulent misrepresentation. This is properly called spoofing in cyber security. Caution must be exercised to verify the authenticity of a mail before sending vital data or making transactions.

Section 22 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015 provide:

(2) Any person who fraudulently or dishonestly makes use of the electronic signature, password or any other unique identification feature of any other person; or

(3)fraudulently impersonates another entity or person, living or dead, with intent to

(a) gain advantage for himself or another person;

(b) obtain any property or an interest in any property;

(c) cause disadvantage to the entity or person being impersonated or another person;

or

(d) avoid arrest or prosecution or to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice.

(4) any person who makes or causes to be made, either directly or indirectly, any false statement as to a material fact in writing, knowing it to be false and with intent that it be relied upon respecting his identity or that of any other person or his financial condition or that of any other person for the purpose of procuring the issuance of a card or other instrument to himself or another person commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than 7,000,000.00 or to both such fine and imprisonment.

By virtue of Section 27 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Etc Act 2015 – Attempt, aiding, conspiracy and abetting of impersonation or any other offence under the Act is a punishable offence.

“But evil people who pretend to be what they are not will become worse than ever, as they fool others and are fooled themselves.”

II Tim 3:13 (CEV).

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