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Stay Alert - Scammers impersonate celebrities on social media

Scammers looking to get your money will do just about anything, including impersonate celebrities. Consider this scenario: You're on a fan site for your favorite celebrity, discussing how great she is with other fans. Then, out of the blue, the celebrity herself sends you a direct message! How awesome is that? You start corresponding, and eventually this celebrity asks you to donate money to her for a charity she's supporting. Or she says you've won a prize in a contest she's running, but you need to send gift cards to her in order to claim it. Or she flat-out asks you to send her money for one purpose or another.

While the thrill of being befriended by your favorite star is compelling, take a step back and give yourself a reality check: Would an actual celebrity take the time to befriend a random fan? Would they ask you to give them money for a charity rather than donating directly to the charity itself? The answer is very likely no. Rather than responding immediately, take the following precautions:

  • Check out the identity of the person contacting you. Can you verify that they are who they say they are? If not, or if you're unsure, stop corresponding and don't do what they're asking of you.
  • If you're contacted by a celebrity from their own social media account, carefully examine the account. Does it include the blue checkmark that verifies they are who they say they are? Does the information in the account correspond with news stories about this celebrity?
  • Google the celebrity's name plus the word "scam" to see what comes up.
  • Consider reporting the matter to the social media site where you encountered this person and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

While it's fun to connect with celebrities on social media, don't let being a fan distract you from being smart about scammers.

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