Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. fans are being targeted by celebrity impersonators on social media

Clayton Cardenas
Mayans M.C. star Clayton Cardenas is the latest actor to be impersonated on social media.

Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. celebrity imposter accounts on social media are targeting fans and creating chaos in the fandom community.

Social media gives Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. actors a way to engage with their fans, promote their work and share moments from their personal lives.

However, fake accounts posing as the actors are regularly giving false hope to fans that they have been followed or messaged by their favorite actor — sometimes with harmful results.

David Labrava (Happy Lowman) has long been impersonated on social media. The Sons of Anarchy actor boasts a dedicated fan base on Twitter, making him a good candidate for impersonation, with fans speaking up about their encounters several times a year.

David Labrava fan @SashasTweeting was direct messaged by an impersonator. Suspicious, she brought it to the actor’s attention. Another case is highlighted below:

One of many David Labrava impersonation accounts was successfully removed last year due to violating Twitter’s Terms of Service.

Meanwhile, Kim Coates was impersonated on Instagram, but a dedicated fan page called The Kim Coates Crew brought the imposter to everyone’s attention and the fake account was also removed for violating TOS.

Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates (Tig Trager) explains he is only on Twitter, not other prominent social media platforms. Credit: Kim Coates, Twitter

The phenomenon of fake celebrity social media accounts is not new. In August 2018, the FTC issued a warning regarding celebrity impersonation scams.

“Imposter scams come in many varieties, but they all work the same way: a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money. And that’s exactly what these celebrity imposters are trying to do.”

Federal Trade Commision, Consumer Information

In the Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. fandom space, those who appear to be most likely to be targeted are female fans, who are easily found by searching through the followers of any given celebrity, or replies and posts which tag the celebrity. The fake ‘actor’ then follows the account of a fan and often engages in direct messaging.

In most impersonation encounters, the intent is tomfoolery by trolling a fan into believing they are receiving the attention of their favorite actor. But there can be other intentions which may be more malicious.

The aim is often to strike up a conversation in direct messages, convince the fan that the account is a secondary account used for personal purposes and gain the trust of the fan. During this phase, the imposter might ask for the fan’s personal information or solicit money under the promise of a prize such as an autograph or a meet and greet.

In some cases, the fan is lured into what is known as a romance scam. Under the impression that the celebrity is interested in a romantic relationship, the fan is tricked into sending intimate photos of themselves. What follows next may include blackmailing the fan by threatening to release the photos unless she or he sends payment.

There are situations where an imposter’s sole purpose is to cause chaos. Mayans M.C. star Clayton Cardenas (Angel Reyes) was the latest actor to be the subject of a social media impersonator.

Clayton Cardenas fan @swontavianicole shared her experience with the impersonator on Twitter.

On February 10th, 2019, an account posing as Clayton direct messaged her using a racial slur. The fake account was less convincing than previous imposters, not even taking the time to use a photo of Clayton for the profile image. The account by the name of @claytoncardena4 seemingly had one purpose — to harass the fan.

Clayton responded to the fan’s Twitter post of the event with shock and disgust, advocating for a ban of the fake account. Clayton’s co-star Vincent Rocco Vargas (Gilly Lopez) also joined in the Twitter thread expressing anger at the harrassment this dedicated fan received.

According to @swontavianicole, she reported the fake @claytoncardena4 account to Twitter Support, and after filing the report, the imposter quickly vanished. She could not confirm if Twitter had taken action or if the impersonator themselves had deleted the account.

Her Twitter thread of the incident shows a wave of support from fellow fans. However, two days later on February 12th one Twitter user by the name of @andrewstacks3 fanned the flames of the situation by making harassing statements directed toward @swontavianicole.

Suspiciously, @andrewstacks3’s page features no profile image or bio. The account was created this February and shows no tweet history. The only sign of life from this fake account is the response posted on @swontavianicole’s thread about the Clayton Cardenas imposter, suggesting the account was seemingly created to add to the racially motivated attack on this fan.

A brand new fake account emerged only to further harass the fan who had already received a hate-fueled direct message from the Mayans M.C. celebrity imposter account.

At the time of writing, the fake @andrewstacks3 account remains intact and its reply to her thread remains visible.

Twitter continues its efforts to combat spam, scams and fake accounts. On February 13th, the social networking site announced an experiment for a new tool that will help make it easier to learn who is behind an account.

Currently, the feature does not offer any additional information and only opens a pop-up preview window of the user’s profile bio.

Celebrity imposter accounts: What can you do?

To avoid any potential encounters with a celebrity imposter, you could consider changing the direct message settings on your profile. Only follow verified actor accounts. Additionally, know which social media platform that actor is on and which platforms they are not.

If you suspect you may have been followed by an imposter account on Twitter, look for a blue checkmark next to the account’s name. This is the social platform’s way of indicating that the owner of the account has provided proof of their identity. An imposter would be check-less. Do not engage with the imposter, and if concerned report them for violating the site’s TOS and block them. Social media platforms have categories for reporting such as spam, scams, and impersonation.

NettieB and Nichole_Brookes explain to fellow David Labrava fans that this is a frequent occurrence, and warn others to look for the verified check mark.

If you receive a direct private message, do not respond. Immediately report the fake account to the proper platform. Entertaining the imposter in his/her game for even a brief moment will give them satisfaction before they are reported and removed for violating TOS. Remember, they are doing this out of hope you’ll engage with them.

Do not go on a witch hunt for possible imposters, however. There are real people out there with names similar to high profile people and who are harmless. Additionally, there are some great fan groups and pages out there whose mission is to support shows like Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. Nobody wants these accounts to be reported and taken down.

Do not confuse imposter accounts with fan accounts like the above mentioned “The Kim Coates Crew” which will not be blue check verified.

Created and run by fans, these personages repost and retweet anything and everything about your favorite TV show or actor. Plus, they are usually very eager to interact with fellow devotees and are great communities to meet new people.

The Kim Coates Crew is a dedicated fan page for Sons of Anarchy alum Kim Coates (Tig Trager). The account shares information valued by his fans

A genuine fan account will disclose itself as such in the bio of the profile. Like “Daily Sarah Bolger” for example.

Daily Sarah Bolger shares her favorite images of Mayans M.C. actor Sarah Bolger. This fan account also creates custom GIFs of the actor for the fans of Mayans M.C.

If you end up being the victim of an imposter scam which involved the loss of money, there are several things you can do:

  • Contact the company used to send the payment and request a reverse on the transaction.
  • Report the scammer to the social media platform on which the scam took place.
  • File a report with the FTC under the Scams and Rip-offs category

Celebrity impersonation accounts have been known to cause pain to the fans who have encountered them and emotional distress on the actors who are being impersonated. For an actor, one of the worst feelings is the possibility that one of your dedicated fans could be taken advantage of.

In an age where social media is common, it is important to remain vigilant and take the proper steps to avoid being taken advantage of when following your favorite actor.

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