An Arizona girl claims her Instagram account name has been hijacked by an imposter and is being used to attack her friends with expletive laced messages, but police have told the girl and her mother that they won't investigate because it's not a crime.
The fake account is in the name of Reve Osheel, a 12-year-old girl in Gilbert, Ariz. Reve, who has Tourettes syndrome, has an account she shares with her mother, Brooke Barr, which her mother closely supervises. In fact, her mother does the posting on the account, Barr said.
Barr, however, has discovered a second account in her daughter's name from which the person pretending to be Reve sends mean messages to her friends.
Alarmed, Barr went to the police, but they declined to investigate and told Barr that since Reve hasn't been targeted by the account with mean messages she cannot be considered a victim. So she can't make a complaint.
"It’s a pretty crappy thing to do, but it's not criminal in nature. If they start making threats or something then that’s different," Sgt. William Sanger of the Gilbert Police Department told ABC News. Sanger said he wished the police department could do more.
Barr also wishes the police could do more because the fake account, which had 35 posts and 83 followers, is causing problems.
She discovered the imposter account when she on her daughter's account and noticed that Reve_Osheel "liked" a photo.
"I called up my ex-husband and asked if he had given Reve permission for an Instagram account without my knowledge. He didn’t,” Barr said.
Reve insists she is not behind the mean-mouthed Instagram commentary.
"Someone else is acting like me, and they created this account,” Reve told ABC News. “It makes me feel kind of sad and just weird. I don’t know why someone would do this to me, and hurt me and my friends.”
After examining the fake site, Barr was unnerved.
“The photos were all taken from Reve’s account that I monitor. They took screen shots, edited them and re-posted. They looked very believable,” Barr notes.
Reve’s real Instagram is private. In order to have taken screen shots of pictures from Reve’s real Instagram, the impostor has to be a friend who currently follows her.
Barr said the social media impostor relentlessly harassed Reve’s friends.
"You are such a brat, [explicit], [explicit]," Barr read from an Instagram post. "And, like, you think you're popular but you're not. So stop acting like one and you will never be one because you are a [explicit]."
As a result of the mean posts on the account, Reve was getting ostracized at school. The girl had already experienced some bullying because of her Tourettes syndrome.
Barr went to school with her daughter and met with a young girl targeted by the impostor.
"She had tears in her eyes. She said it was horrible for a couple of days," Barr said. "And she’s like, it's OK And I said, it's not OK, it's really not OK. And you don't need to think it's OK. I am going to get to the bottom of this."
Barr isn't sure who is behind the hurtful job.
“I have no idea honestly. I think it’s probably a kid from her school. Reve was bullied a lot for her Tourettes syndrome, and I think maybe all my speaking out against bullying made her a target,” Barr pointed out.
“All I want to do is find out who this is. Why can’t I trace the IP address to see who did this?” Barr asked.
But without a legal pathway to track down the impostor, Barr and other mothers are seemingly left without a way of exposing their children's cyber bullies.
Sgt. Sanger recommended that Barr reach out to Instagram directly and see what their policies may be in releasing information that could reveal the impostor.
Barr did contact Instagram and got an email that said, "We are unable to provide non-public information without a search warrant or subpoena from law enforcement. Please let us know there is anything else we can assist with."
Instagram contacted ABC News shortly after this story was posted to clarify that the account in question, Reve_Osheel, is not currently active on Instagram.