Women regularly tell Mr. Adkins he had proposed to them online. “I mean it’s off-the-charts crazy, man,” he said. “But people believe this stuff and we have to deal with it.”

When I messaged an Instagram account pretending to belong to Mr. Adkins, the impostor directed me to a profile impersonating the singer’s daughter. The account, which had posted numerous photos of the college-age Ms. Adkins, said she had started a charity and sent me a photo of a man in a hospital bed.

Whoever was behind the fake account then asked for a donation “to pay a dying man’s hospital bill.” The sum? $14,700. When I demurred, the impostor wrote snippily, “Are you willing to help us with money or what?”

Mr. Adkins said of the account posing as his daughter: “I would like to hunt that guy down and give him a beating.” He said his team had contacted the F.B.I. and the social media companies, to no avail.

“It falls on deaf ears,” he said. “They know there are hundreds of fake accounts and they don’t do anything about it.”

Last year, Mr. Adkins posted a video on Facebook warning fans of the online impostors. Last week, 20 other country and pop stars, including Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton, released a video urging fans to steer clear of imitators.

Mr. Moore said the fake accounts had weighed on him. He recently got a message from a man who said his wife was leaving him for Mr. Moore after she had started a relationship with the singer online. When he clicked on the woman’s profile, he found a 60-year-old mother of five.

“How can it not bother me?” Mr. Moore said. “I have people like, ‘You’re the biggest scumbag ever. You were doing this, messaging my mom or whatever.’ It’s a disheartening thing, when you’re viewed a certain way by people that has nothing to do with your character in real life.”

James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author with 571,000 followers on Facebook, said imitators sent messages to his followers soliciting donations or “they’ll start posting horrible things in my name,” like criticism of Catholic charities.

“There is a special place in hell reserved for people like that,” he said.

The comedian Dave Chappelle said he began following messages posted on Twitter by one of his impersonators and actually found them funny — until the account began to trade insults with the Twitter account of another comedian, Katt Williams.

“Katt Williams starts saying things to the fake Dave Chappelle that’s hurting the real Dave Chappelle’s feelings,” Mr. Chappelle recounted on “The Tonight Show” in 2014.

Mr. Chappelle said he was worried when he later encountered Mr. Williams at an event. Mr. Chappelle said he told Mr. Williams he did not have a Twitter account. “So?,” Mr. Williams replied. “That’s not unusual. I don’t have a Twitter page either.”



READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here