They cheat and fraud with celebrities


ESET examined how criminals use names and images of famous and wealthy individuals to defraud people. It identified four methods most used by cybercriminals.

Gift cryptocurrency withdrawals

Fake cryptocurrency withdrawals are one of the most popular scams. To reach more people, criminals use many different channels, such as hacking YouTube accounts with high followers or organizing fake sweepstakes on Twitter. It promises people to double the money they have deposited as part of the giveaway draw and asks them to deposit digital money to a bitcoin address. As you can imagine, victims never get back their deposited crypto money. To make it look legitimate, scammers often use the image of a celebrity to promote these giveaways, or give the impression that the raffle was organized by tech giants. Especially Bill Gates and Elon Musk images are frequently used in this fraudulent method.

Some celebrities enjoy interacting with their followers by hosting live streams on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. While followers love to have their favorite celebrities produce content for them or answer their questions, scammers use these live streams to steal money from loyal followers. For this purpose, criminals create a fake account identical to the celebrity’s real social media account, including posts, photos, and videos. However, the name of the account is misspelled or it is added to another word such as “TV” or “fan page”. Later, he broadcasts a video or live broadcast in a post that the celebrity posted a while ago with a title such as “$ 1,000 gift for the first 1000 comments” as if it were broadcast live. It uses popular tags to make it easy to find live stream.

When followers interact with the scam video, they follow the instructions to get the money they think they have earned; For example, they click a link to a website and fill out forms where they share sensitive personal information or send money from their accounts. As a result, they both lose money and their data fall into the hands of fraudsters for subsequent scams.

Would you like to donate?

Another scam that uses celebrities is to create fake accounts by posing as celebrities and reach followers via direct messages. This can happen on any social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. This tactic is not too complicated. The fake account holder sends a message to the victim and pretends to be a celebrity and asks the victim to donate for a purpose they supposedly support. They can also offer tickets for private concerts that do not actually exist, or try to convince the victim by sending money to other events that they can attend. Victims who interact with these scammers, posing as celebrities, often lose money and never transfer money to where the victim “donated”.

I invested in this, you should too!

One of the most common strategies used by online fraudsters is to persuade victims to invest money in “investments” allegedly supported by celebrities. Investment scams are not new and always contain the same message; fold your investment quickly and easily. It is also claimed that in many cases this is a “guaranteed” investment. The investment fraud used by celebrities also serves the same purpose. This type of scam includes advertisements with articles claiming to earn a great deal of money in return for the investment. These advertisements contain ambitious titles such as “Famous X is investing in this company or this product and has quadrupled its investment” or “Famous Z recommends investing in this for your future.” This investment opportunity is often fake, but in some cases the investment opportunity may be real but money is never invested in that investment opportunity. In these cases, it is only the criminals who organize this fraud, who get richer.

How can you stay safe?

Experts warned, sharing that being safe means being careful. According to experts, scams are not very difficult to spot. It helps you understand the difference between real celebrities and those who disguise themselves in social media platforms. When a “celebrity” contacts you, the easiest thing you can do is to see if the profile is approved. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter confirm that the account belongs to a celebrity by placing a tick next to the user’s name.