How scammers use celebrity names to swindle money — popular schemes
- Cryptocurrency draws
- Fake online broadcasts
- Appeals to donate money to charity
- Investment Fraud
- How to avoid becoming a victim of intruders
Various fraud techniques are one of the most prevalent ways for cyber thieves to steal money. As a result, there are lots of options for speculation, ranging from the spread of phishing messages claiming to be linked to COVID-19 vaccinations to reports of getting a massive inheritance from a long-lost family. Methods in which cybercriminals use the names and faces of celebrities to extort money from devoted fans are also prevalent.
Since many Internet users obtained access to cryptocurrencies, this fraud has most likely existed. Cybercriminals employ various communication methods to contact as many victims as possible. They aim to disseminate knowledge about fraudulent pranks by gaining illegal access to YouTube accounts with many subscribers or by gaining unauthorized access to YouTube accounts with a large number of subscribers.
The fraudsters then invite victims to transmit digital money to a Bitcoin address, promising that the amount deposited will be doubled. However, participants in such drawings lose their bitcoin forever, as you might expect.
Scammers often try to make it appear that pranks are approved or even funded by well-known individuals to prevent potential victims from suspecting anything. In particular, the name of Bill Gates is often mentioned in such pranks, although the founder of Microsoft himself has repeatedly publicly criticized and spoken out against cryptocurrencies. The name of Elon Musk, who, on the contrary, is a big fan of cryptocurrencies, is also often used by cybercriminals in such schemes. In one attack, the name of the founder of Tesla and SpaceX was even included in the Bitcoin address itself.
Fake online broadcasts
Most celebrities like to connect with their fans via live streams on different platforms like Facebook or Instagram. However, scammers are increasingly using such broadcasts to extort money from loyal fans.
In particular, cybercriminals create fake accounts that duplicate real celebrity Facebook accounts, including posts, photos, and videos. The only different thing is the username. It may contain errors or additions “TV”, “fan page” and others.
The fake page then posts a recording of a live stream recorded by the celebrity on her actual page, with a description like this: “The first 1,000 people to comment will receive $1,000.”
Once fans complete the draw requirements, they will receive messages with further instructions to claim their prizes. For example, you need to follow a link to a site and leave confidential personal information that attackers can then sell or pay a certain amount supposedly for delivering a gift.
Appeals to donate money to charity
There is another popular scam in which attackers use fake celebrity accounts to scam people; however, cybercriminals send users private messages in this scheme. Specifically, the victim receives a letter from an attacker posing as a celebrity asking them to send a charitable donation to a particular organization.
Alternatively, victims may also be offered tickets to non-existent private concerts or other occasions that would convince fans to part with their money. As a result of such frauds, the victims lose money, and the organizations the attackers allegedly call for support never receive charitable contributions.
If you don’t use ad-blocking tools, you’ve probably seen scammers pop up urging you to invest in organizations or foundations that certain celebrities already support. This fraud scheme is not new and always contains similar phrases — “multiply your investments quickly and easily” and “the result is guaranteed.”
In addition, these pop-up messages often contain links to articles with impressive headlines, such as “Celebrity X invested in this company or product and quadrupled their investment.” However, all of these investment opportunities tend to be bogus.
There are also cases where investment options are genuine, but scammers indicate their own instead of real accounts for transferring money. Therefore, the only ones who can get wealthy from such investments are only the criminals behind such schemes.
How to avoid becoming a victim of intruders
Thanks to the measures taken by social media platforms, distinguishing real celebrity accounts from fake ones is quite simple today. Therefore, if you receive such messages from “celebrities”, first check if their profiles have confirmation. For example, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter use a checkmark icon next to a username for the official accounts of famous individuals and organizations.
As for various charitable and investment opportunities, their authenticity can also be verified with a quick Google search. To be sure that you are not sending money to scammers, you can contact directly the representatives of the official organization to which you plan to transfer money.
For additional Internet protection, you should use reliable solutions and adhere to the basic rules of safe networking. Even these simple security measures will help detect intruders’ suspicious activity in time and prevent the loss of personal data and other personal information.