According to Statista, in 2022, the most common types of cyber-attacks were bulk phishing, ransomware, smishing, and vishing, among others. Cyber-attacks are, however, only one of the several ways in which people can be deceived online. Celebrity scams, for instance, are a less-known scamming strategy that capitalizes on the fascination some people have with celebrities.
If you are one of those who would love to meet a famous person, hold on to find out which are the most common celebrity scams to watch out for.
1. Investment scams
One common fraud is related to investment propositions. For example, in the last couple of years, it has become increasingly common to see fake videos of celebrities that appear to encourage individuals to invest in a crypto project. Similar videos can be used to encourage people to invest in stocks or a business plan. The idea behind this strategy is to make people believe an investment strategy is secure because a person who is regarded as credible by a large number of people is endorsing it.
There are several strategies you can use to protect yourself against fake endorsements. In most cases, a real endorsement will be accompanied by official statements and can be cross-referenced on the social media accounts of those giving the endorsement.
Endorsements that include promises of very high returns are more often than not fake and quite easy to spot as such. Regardless of the content of the endorsement, never assume it is authentic unless you see confirmation on an official channel. In addition, it’s probably best not to make an investment just because a famous individual appears to encourage you to do so, regardless of whether the endorsement is genuine or not.
2. Celebrity impersonation
This relatively common scamming strategy involves creating fake profiles that mimic well-known personalities, including musicians, actors, influencers, and politicians. Public individuals can be impersonated on social media, email, or other communication channels that are used by a large number of people.
It is quite common to spot fake social media profiles that are meant to resemble those of real celebrities. One reason for this is that creating such profiles is easy, as the photos, bios, and other personal information of public individuals are readily available online. This type of impersonation is used to persuade followers to provide personal information or offer financial assistance.
If you are unsure about who reaches out to you on social media or any other channel, ask the person for a phone number and reverse search it on Nuwber. After a quick search, it will show you who the number belongs to, where this person lives, and their age, among other details. More importantly, you will see whether this is a celebrity or if someone is just impersonating them.
3. Fake charity fraud
Impersonators and fake celebrity videos are not only used to encourage you to invest but also to donate. Since public individuals are often involved in charity programs, fake charity announcements might be harder to spot compared to investment propositions. Examples of charity fraud include fake fundraising events or bogus charity organizations.
To avoid giving money to false charity events or organizations, avoid sending money anywhere before investigating the organization. In addition, you will want to ensure that bank accounts or related instruments actually belong to the organization that you have confirmed to be legit. In other words, just because a charity organization is real, don’t assume by default that the accounts provided for funding actually belong to the organization in question.
4. Ticket and event scams
Another scamming strategy that is not always easy to spot is the sale of counterfeit tickets and creation of fake event websites. For example, some people have ended up buying counterfeit tickets that were unusable at the event’s entrance.
When purchasing tickets, it’s best practice to buy them directly from official issuing platforms, a reputable third-party distributor, or the celebrity’s official website. Note that even when legitimate, third-party distributors may occasionally sell tickets at a higher price than official providers.
5. Fake product endorsement
Scammers know how to impersonate famous individuals to endorse a product. While all sorts of products can be endorsed, common items include health and beauty products, counterfeit merchandise, and weight loss supplements.
Just as is the case with any other type of endorsement, always double-check on official channels whether a given celebrity has actually endorsed a product. Even if the endorsement is real, it’s probably best not to assume that the product in question is really worth buying.
6. Romance scams
It’s no surprise that some celebrity impersonators pretend to have a crush on unsuspecting victims. As already mentioned, it’s quite easy to create fake accounts. However, it’s extremely unlikely to be randomly contacted by a famous person. These frauds typically end with a broken heart and an empty wallet.
There is arguably no scamming strategy that is easier to detect than this one. Given the scenario in which a celebrity contacts you for no reason only to later request money or sensitive information from you, you would have to be quite unfortunate to become a victim of this extortion strategy.
Bottom line: Don’t make decisions based on what real or fake famous people tell you
In a world that is about to experience a substantial increase in fake videos as a result of artificial intelligence, we are likely going to witness an increase in fraudulent activities involving celebrity impersonators.
To protect yourself against celebrity scams, learn how to detect red flags and use your common sense. While celebrities do engage in endorsements and organize charity events, they do so through official communication channels.
Regardless of whether an endorsement is real or not, it’s probably best to do your own research and not simply act because a famous person tells you so. As long as you have a good sense of what is likely and what is not, your money and data should be safe.