Faking identity with permission: could I regret it?
July 12, 2012 2:11 PM Subscribe
In the US of A, what's the legality of pretending to be someone else? With their permission, over the phone, to health insurance companies and the like. I'm a personal assistant fresh out of college, and I'd like to know how my self-absorbed and well-respected boss could possibly screw me over later.
posted by Baethan to law & government (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a personal assistant to a person who is a professor at a top Ivy League school. They regularly and explicitly ask me to call companies pretending to be them. I was griping to friends about the difficulty of sorting out this person's health insurance issues, and they warned me that what I'm doing could be illegal in some way. Usually I go the soft route and say "I'm calling on behalf of X" and then when the person on the other end says "Okay, could you spell your name for me, X?" I don't correct them as to my identity. Sometimes I do simply claim to be X (especially for the health insurance company), which is what my boss has specifically asked me to do.
Is this illegal? I googled, but turned up nothing relevant. My boss is not 100% pleased with me, and their penchant for twisting words and claiming I said things that I demonstrably did not is making me very nervous. I think the chances of this coming back to haunt me are slim, but I'm getting paranoid. Preemptively asking them to authorize me would make them very angry, especially as I pretend to be them for a number of companies. Since taking the "better safe than sorry" route could further ruin our working relationship, I'd love to have something concrete to fall back on if I need to insist that I will only be me.
Is it possible that I could get in trouble? If my boss mentions this when speaking to future, prospective employers, could I regret it?