Safeguarding Our Customers

Customer Alert – Beware of Celebrity Imposter Scams

Watch Out For Charity Scams Do you follow your favorite celebrities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? It's a great way to stay updated on their career news and personal views. But be suspicious if you receive a direct message from a celebrity out of the blue. It's almost certainly a scam.

Social media is filled with bogus celebrity accounts, and imposters will reach out to the real star's followers and ask for money. For example, if you post "I love you, Blake Shelton!" on the singer's real Facebook or Instagram page, you might get a message from something like #SecretBlakeSheltonacct. The Blake impostor will say he's flattered, values your fandom, and would love to meet you ... if you first donate to his charity. Or you may be invited to buy tickets to a private concert or meet-and-greet.

Another popular tactic of celebrity imposter scams is the phony livestream. It typically features a video taken from the celebrity's real social feed along with a message promising a cash prize to the first 500 people who comment with a specified phrase or identify something hidden in an optical illusion. Respondents get a direct message asking for a bank account number or other personal data to facilitate payment of the prize.

To avoid celebrity imposter scams, use these strategies:
  • Look for the blue checkmark on celebrity social media accounts, which verifies that they're the real deal. If there's no checkmark, it's an impostor.
  • Search the celebrity's name with the word "scam" to see what's been reported.
  • Never give personal information or send money via gift card, wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or peer-to-peer payment app to someone you don't know and have only communicated with online, no matter how supposedly famous.
  • Don't engage with a supposed celebrity on an unverified social media account, even if they don't initially ask for money.
If you come across a celebrity impersonator account, report it and help others avoid becoming a scam victim. FacebookTwitter, and Instagram have procedures in place to make reporting easy.

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