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Dedicated Process for Federally Recognized K-12 Education Institutions to Report Fraudulent Pages/Accounts


Why It Matters


This year, U.S. consumers have already lost $316 million to fraud that originated with contacts on social media, according to recent reports from the Federal Trade Commission. Some of those victims may well have experienced fraud perpetrated by fake accounts appearing in a school district’s name with its logo and branding. In a recent joint CoSN-NSPRA member survey, more than half of the respondents (51%) reported that their educational organization has struggled with this challenge in the last two years.

When a fraudulent social media account/page appears, there are few recourses for a school district to pursue. Currently, school districts must follow the same reporting method on social media platforms as all individual users. This typically involves clicking on something from the fraudulent account profile and/or filling out a report form. 

Many school districts—particularly those without copyrights or trademarks to their brand identity elements—experience frustratingly long response times to their reports, during which the fake accounts remain active. Others receive outright rejections of their complaints despite the fake accounts clearly violating a platform’s standards or rules. In the CoSN-NSPRA member survey, more than a third of respondents (35%) said they have reported a fake-official account within the last two years, but it was not removed by the social media platform.

Following is a small sampling of the more than 80 comments received from members whose school districts have experienced challenges with fake accounts.


In Their Words

“There are currently near 100 accounts that we are aware of that are either purporting to be us and spreading misinformation. These accounts request personal information from students, staff and employees and people believe it is us so they share their info. Many of these accounts have started fundraisers pretending to be us and they have collected money that does not go to any of our schools or the district. These accounts also spread misinformation during emergencies which creates havoc as we are trying to deal with emergencies.”

“The biggest problem was an account that was set up using our superintendent's name - the site tried to close schools during inclement weather, announce policy changes that were not true, and tried to spread other false news.”

“We have middle school students who will start Instagram or Tik Tok account with the schools name and/or logo in the icon or username. I have tried reporting in many different ways (bullying, impersonating, trademark infringement, user is under 13, etc.) but have been unsuccessful in removing these accounts.”

“I cannot fathom why some of my requests are approved and others denied, other than it's just always a guess by the person who happened to get my report ticket. I need someone who understands schools to review my request.”

“The biggest challenge is the lack of response when we attempt to have a fake account shut down or have inappropriate/libelous posts/content that we would like removed. Sometimes we are successful, many times we are ignored by the social media companies when report these things.”

“There is no government contact for most of these platforms, and finding an actual person to follow up with is next to impossible. We have spent countless hours reporting accounts that are causing real harm to students only for it to take days to get a response, if any at all, and many times that post remains up.”