Multiple TikTok accounts appearing to represent the McKinney Police Department popped up on TikTok, but the department says they're fake.
On Aug. 22, 2023, the department announced the impersonators on Facebook, warning users to avoid any accounts that claim to be the McKinney Police Department. The department added that they do not use a TikTok account, nor have ever used one.
“The only official social media accounts for the McKinney Police Department are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,” the department said. “We are working to have the fake TikTok accounts shut down, as well as to identify those who are impersonating our Department online.”
Last year, Texas joined more than two dozen other states in banning the app on government-owned devices.
Online Impersonation is a Texas criminal offense that makes it illegal to pretend to be someone else online (or by text message) without that person’s permission if you mean to cause harm. In this case, it’s unclear what the impersonator's intentions are.
The Texas Penal Code categorizes online impersonation within Title 7, specifically under "offenses against property," in chapter 33 dedicated to "computer crimes." The offenses under the "computer cimes" section are characterized by their non-violent nature, revolving around deception, threats and fraudulent activities.
According to WFAA, this is the second time this week authorities in North Texas cautioned the public regarding individuals pretending to be city figures and departments.
The Dallas police department reported being informed about a fraudulent email circulating, purportedly sent by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. The deceptive email contains a hyperlink and entices recipients to make financial investments. The Financial Crimes Unit of the DPD identified the email as a scam with a focus on specifically targeting senior citizens for monetary gain.