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New Law May Bring Fines To Online Impersonators

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(credit: Nicolas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: Nicolas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (KNX1070/AP) — A law taking effect with the new year will make impersonating someone online through social network pages, texts or e-mails a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail.

KNX Legal Analyst Amy Stoody Talks With KNX Anchor Bob Brill About New Law

Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said his SB1411 updates the state’s impersonation law, which dates to 1872, to outlaw “e-personation.”

“An e-personator is someone who can hide behind a false name and can use Facebook or Twitter, email or web forums to harass or embarrass others or in some cases, have even endangered another person’s life,” KNX Legal Analyst Amy Stood says.

Prosecutors must prove the impersonator had the criminal intent to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud. Victims can sue for damages.

If you believe someone is e-personating you, let your network and contacts know about the person and alert the site.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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