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I recently resigned and have discovered that my employer has continued to send emails to my clients under my account pretending to be me. I understand it is their company email account, however, it is MY name and I am well-reputed in my industry. What are my options?

Some more details:

I know this is actually happening as I have had the emails forwarded by a co-worker who was copied on them to my personal account. My departure was not on the best terms with one other co-worker in particular and it is that co-worker that is accessing my account. It is a small company and I was one of their senior people. I am sure they are trying to hide that I left. Additionally, the person doing this could easily be sending negative emails as well, but I have no proof of those. He has a definite motive to do so, as he is manipulative and unprofessional.

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    Has this caused any specific problems for you? If not, what specific problems do you anticipate it will cause? What's your relationship with this former employer like? What is your desired outcome? – Air Aug 4 '15 at 15:58
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    @Air It's not right for the company to deceive their customers, and it borders on identity theft for them to use her name and reputation without her consent. I am not a lawyer, but a lawyer may be needed. – Kent A. Aug 4 '15 at 16:08
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    @Ann I realize that they may have a definite motive to do so, but you should be very cautious about not accusing someone professionally. It can and often does backfire. If it somehow were to come up I would advise you to simply say that you have concerns over someone else possibly using your identity, but do not specify who. – zfrisch Aug 4 '15 at 16:30
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    @Terry I'm not a lawyer, but I'd assume this is illegal in the U.S., as well (and probably many/most other countries, too.) – reirab Aug 4 '15 at 21:14
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    Important: does he actually use your name, as in "the email address he uses contains your name", "he puts your name in the signature", things like that… or he is using a generic address which you happened to use "webmaster@company.com" so that people might assume it's you? I guess the first, but better to ask. – o0'. Aug 5 '15 at 10:18
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You should send a courtesy email to your contacts at the other companies to inform them of your departure from the company. Thank them for the good times and be careful to not make it appear like you're trying to solicit their business away from your former employer.

Don't accuse your company of doing anything wrong. Let the clients make that determination themselves. (You might want to include your departure date to help them.)

If you use LinkedIn (or some other social media tool), and are connected to your clients through that tool, you should also update your status there. Again, let your former company and your former clients draw their own conclusions.

If their behavior doesn't stop, you should consult an attorney to find out what legal remedies you might have, which might include a cease and desist letter, or a police report of identity theft.

Edit: Incorporated some of the comments into the answer.

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    I would be careful there. OP may have some kind of non-compete company could say that is poaching clients. Good answer. Just saying it is not an automatic. – paparazzo Aug 4 '15 at 16:08
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    @Frisbee Agreed. The courtesy email should not be a solicitation of further business under a new name. It should just be along the lines of "I just wanted to let you know... I really enjoyed working with you." – Kent A. Aug 4 '15 at 16:13
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    +1: I would also recommend including the date of departure casually. This will aid in the drawing of conclusions without direct accusation. – Joel Etherton Aug 4 '15 at 17:42
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    Screw that. With explicit evidence that someone is using my name, my first response would be to destroy them for identity theft. – K. Alan Bates Aug 4 '15 at 19:59
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    @Johnny What do you mean "legal fees?" I would go straight to the prosecutor and lean on them to file criminal fraud charges and identity theft. If the DA sat on ass, I'd go to the press and explain how worthless the DA is, how s/he is in the pocket of the corporation that defrauded me, and how disreputable the thieves are in the marketplace for stealing my identity. Keep in mind I am talking about explicit evidence and not an insinuation or rumor that they "maybe might be using my name." If they're using "my" identity without my express consent, they are frauds. – K. Alan Bates Aug 5 '15 at 0:42
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What are my options?

  • You could call your former boss, explain nicely what has happened, indicate that you are sure this must be a mistake, and kindly ask that it be stopped (this is what I would do)
  • You could call your former boss, explain what has happened, and insist that it stop
  • You could call your former boss and demand that it stop
  • You could call your former boss and threaten a lawsuit if it doesn't stop
  • You could have your attorney draft a letter demanding that it stop
  • You could take them to court
  • You could contact each of your former customers and explain that these emails are not from you
  • You could contact each of your former customers, explain that these emails are not from you, and CC your former boss with each email

For me, I'd take the simplest, easiest, and most polite option first. But your mileage may vary.

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    Don't forget skipping both your former boss and civil litigation to make a criminal complaint of identity fraud. (I'm not saying it is a good option, but it is an option) – kleineg Apr 7 '16 at 12:55
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Are they just replying to emails sent to your account? If they are just leaving the account open and replying in a general way then I kind of get that.

If they have not replaced you yet it may be they don't want to tell them you are gone until they have covered your position.

If they are sending from your email that is crossing the line in my opinion. They are not just using your email they are impersonating you. Ask them to stop and if they don't consult a lawyer. I just don't get how they think it will benefit them? At some point they need to come clean and the contact or customer will realize they have been lied to.

If you do send out a preemptive email be sure there is nothing in your contract about contacting customers.

If you are known in industry and have an active LinkedIn news should spread pretty quickly.

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    They are sending from my account as if I am still at the company. It is an it company and one of duties was customer support and monitoring a "hot line" email address. They are replying to my customers as if I am still working there - using my "intellectual capital".... total BS..... – Ann Aug 4 '15 at 16:47
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    And Thank You all for your advice! I have updated my Linked In and emailed as many of my colleagues as possible. Obviously, I know my ex-employer has full rights to my email account, but I do not believe it is right nor legal for them to send emails pretending to be me. Especially in an industry where my name is well known to be expert in my specialty field. – Ann Aug 4 '15 at 16:49
  • If they are impersonating you then I agree it is wrong. Ask them to stop and if they don't consult an attorney. If they are using your name in a way the reflects poorly on you or even give bad answers in you name the might be defamation of character. I suggest you take the legal side of the question to law.se. – paparazzo Aug 4 '15 at 16:54
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    As for your manipulative and unprofessional ex-coworker. Some times revenge is best served cold. Customers are going to find out eventually and realize they have been deceived. If the emails are not specifically harmful to you maybe give the person enough rope to hang them self. – paparazzo Aug 4 '15 at 16:58
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You should get in contact with an attorney, they may have rights to certain intellectual property the you created as an employee, or they might not. The Bottom Line is that they may owe you money for using your persona for profitable gain.

You should contact the Boss, in writing probably certified mail so that you can prove that they were told to cease using your persona, then if they continue you have something to stand on when/if you go to court.

Again, you need to talk to an attorney. You haven't given us much information concerning this issue, and it sounds more like a legal issue than a workplace issue.

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The correct solution is to forward all emails to your successor and then he answers them from his account.

He can start mail with "sorry, Ann is not working here anymore" or just leave that out, most customers do not care who they write with and just respond to the last mail they have from the company.

The next thing is to change the password on the account, so that it's not possible to send emails from there for your successor.

Like Joe says, ask nicely first. If they keep doing that, consider legal steps. Let's say your successor insults someone or causes some other kind of damage, lots of fun awaits you and best case a court will rule you innocent.

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    It seems pretty clear that the OP does not still have access to the account in question and can't just change the password. Besides, since it's on their company e-mail server, they can just set the password to whatever they like (which is probably how they started sending e-mail from it in the first place.) And, yes, of course the company should have just forwarded incoming messages to the account to someone else at the company, but they obviously didn't do that. – reirab Aug 4 '15 at 21:17
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    You are implying the same as the OP, maybe wrongfully. The successor is using the account, but maybe without the boss knowing. So I would first talk to the boss and suggest to change the forwarding and password change. Then based on the reaction decide how to continue. – leeroy Aug 5 '15 at 0:36
  • @leeroy I think you're right, you can scream "lawsuit", but the OP isn't clear who's using the account. You could be damaging a relationship by accusing them when actually it's just a new employee who hasn't bothered to contact IT yet. – Prinsig Aug 5 '15 at 9:17

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