Online scams are one of the most common ways that criminals like to dupe often highly unsuspecting victims in parting with their hard-earned money. One of the more common scams that we see people fall victim to online is celebrity impersonation scams. This is where scammers impersonate high-profile celebrities in an attempt to cause the victims to lose hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Despite having no involvement in the scams, images and reputations of celebrities are being continuously utilised by criminals in an attempt to make victims feel comfortable and at ease, making them more likely to lose money in a celebrity impersonation scam. There are various techniques used by scammers to steal money from victims, ranging from phishing messages to promising investment opportunities, all designed to emulate trust and lose their money.
There are some forms of celebrity impersonation scams that are more frequently used by others, simply because they have the highest success rates in terms of successful scams. Let’s take a look at how you can avoid losing money to celebrity impersonation scams.
Even since cryptocurrency became more mainstream, there have been people losing money to fake cryptocurrency scam giveaways. In order to reach as many potential victims as possible, these scammers will carry out celebrity impersonation scams. They often hijack accounts on YouTube that have a high number of followers, or now with the changes in Blue Tick verification on Twitter, can make their accounts seem legitimate. They will then ask people to send digital cash to a Bitcoin address, with the promise of increasing or even doubling their initial investment as the prize of a giveaway.
In order to make these celebrity impersonation scams seem legitimate, criminals will use people in tech or well-known celebrities in order to build trust. There have been many celebrities impersonated in these scams, including Elon Musk, Jake Paul, Paris Hilton and Jamie Foxx. The scammers will also tend to use pump and dump scam techniques, inflating the cost of the stock and then cashing out before the scam becomes apparent, leaving investors with nothing.
Another common celebrity impersonation scam involves financial journalist Martin Lewis. Many people have lost money through celebrity impersonation scams involving Martin Lewis, with scammers using Martin’s images on paid ads across social media platforms, but also notably through fake emails. It is believed that, collectively, people have lost close to £6 million through this specific celebrity impersonation scam.
Scammers used fake emails claiming to be from Martin Lewis’ site MoneySavingExpert.com using “mseoptions.com” as one of the emails used to encourage recipients to part with their money. This celebrity impersonation scam has been around for years and, despite best efforts from the Money Saving Expert team, they still continue. Martin Lewis and the website team have said that they never advertise or endorse their site online, so if you do spot them, avoid them.
How To Spot A Celebrity Impersonation Scam
There are some telltale signs when it comes to spotting a celebrity impersonation scam. Some are similar to other scam methods, but there are some differences in the way that these scammers operate.
The Account Looks Unusual
On Twitter, there will be very obvious signs that the account is involved with a celebrity impersonation scam. If the bio seems unusually written for the celebrity or uses a lot of emojis, then this could be a spam account. If they mention cryptocurrency trading or money in any way, then this is also something to be wary of.
Check the username for the account – this is also recommended for email celebrity impersonation scams – as celebrity accounts don’t tend to use numbers or special characters. When scammers copy celebrity accounts, the only thing they can’t copy is the account name.
Another thing to check is the posts on the account. If they’ve all been posted in quick succession of one another, then this is a technique that scammers will use for celebrity impersonation scams in an attempt to look like a legitimate celebrity.
Pushes For Donations To Charitable Causes
Another way you can spot a celebrity impersonation scam is if the account is pushing for donations to be made to a charitable cause. This can occur on any platform and via email, however, the tactic isn’t very sophisticated, as the scammers will typically reach out directly to other users and act as the celebrity, asking them to donate to a charity they are supposedly supporting. As is the case with celebrity impersonation scams, if users donate, then the charitable cause they have donated to will never receive the funds.
How To Stay Safe From Celebrity Impersonation Scams
It’s easy to spot signs of some scams and although there are some obvious signs of celebrity impersonation scams, hundreds of people still fall victim to them each year, losing thousands of pounds.
Thankfully, social media platforms have begun taking more steps to protect users from celebrity impersonation scams and make it easier to distinguish between real celebrities and fake imposters. It is more difficult to impose restrictions on celebrity impersonation scams via email, so the best way to stay safe is to remain vigilant and always do some research if you are contacted via email.
If you have lost money through a celebrity impersonation scam, then our team may be able to help you recover the lost funds. Get in touch with us today and we can see how we could help!