Popular actor and former wrestler Dwayne Johnson, known in his wrestling days as The Rock is the basis for a scam presently found on Facebook where what appears to be a post from him appears on your News Feed in which he promises a chance to win tremendous prizes and all you need to do is pay an entry fee or click on a link provided. Unfortunately, it is a total scam that has nothing to do with Dwayne Johnson. There are no prizes and if you pay an entry fee, you lose it. If you click on the link you either unwittingly download malware or are prompted to provide personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft. Here is a link to Dwayne Johnson’s Instagram warning about this scam. https://www.instagram.com/p/BnO-f6ylvlH/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=embed_loading_state_control
Posing as a famous person on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is quite simple to do and has proven to be quite lucrative for many scammers who are able to convince unsuspecting victims to rely on the phony accounts. I wrote in the Scam of the day for July 22, 2018 about such a scam involving actor, director Tyler Perry. The subject of the most phony celebrity accounts, according to a study by a company called Social Impostor is Brazilian soccer player Neymar with singer/actress Selena Gomez a close second. Social Impostor is a company which works to protect celebrities from misuse of their names on line. Setting up a social media account is easy to do for a scammer requiring merely a name, a photo and an email address, all of which can be done to make it appear that the account is that of the real celebrity when, in truth it is that of the scammer. Sometimes the scammer will add a middle initial or a slight misspelling of the name of the celebrity to avoid detection. There are even companies that for a few dollars will set up phony celebrity social media accounts for scammers. Despite the efforts of the various social media companies to try to stop this practice, it continues in great numbers. Facebook estimates that there are as many as 60 million phony Facebook accounts including hundreds of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. It tries to remove the accounts when it becomes aware of them, but they spring up soon again.
The phony celebrity social media scams come in various forms. In one of these scams about which I reported to you earlier this year a Twitter thread started by Elon Musk using his Twitter handle of @elonmusk is responded to by someone using the handle of @ElonMsk, which also carries a photo of Elon Musk. Someone looking at it quickly may not recognize that it is not the Twitter handle of Elon Musk. The Tweet states, “I’m donating 20 Bitcoin to everyone who sends .02 to the address below. First 40 transactions with 0.02 BTC sent to the address below will each receive 0.5 BTC to the address the 0.02 BTC came from.”
People are falling for this scam and sending in the few Bitcoins in an attempt to receive more in return. Although Twitter is shutting down these scammers when they become aware of the scams, it takes little time for the scammers to start the scam again using the name of another celebrity.
If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. These scams are really just another incarnation of the Nigerian email scam. Dwayne Johnson is not giving away free prizes and no one is giving anyone 20 Bitcoins in return for .02 Bitcoins. Elon Musk, John McAffee, Vitalik Buterin and other well known people are not giving away Bitcoins in return for paying them fewer Bitcoins. Always look carefully at Twitter threads when responding. You should never trust a social media account of a celebrity or anyone for that matter that promises to give you something for nothing. No celebrity is giving gifts to total strangers, not even Oprah Winfrey, whose generosity is well known and whose name was used to perpetrate these scams, as well. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.
Whenever you see one of these free giveaways appear in social media be a little skeptical and don’t provide any personal information. Certainly don’t give away any credit card information and don’t click on unverified links.
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