Assuming the identity of another person, real or unreal, deceased or living, or pretending to possess characteristics that do not accurately reflect one's true attributes or background are characteristics of impersonation. The individuals who practice this activity are commonly known as impersonators; however, if the impersonation involves fraud and deception, other more negative terms are used, such as impostors, charlatans, or mountebanks. Criminal forms of impersonation are often referred to as false personation and offenders are subject to varying forms and degrees of sanction.

Throughout history, there have been numerous cases of people who use have used false personation in a variety of different ways and many have become quite famous for their activities. Many of these identity thieves have been the inspiration for books, articles, ...

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