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. Some of the celebrities whose names have been used to scam their fans are Duane Johnson, soccer player Neymar and Selena Gomez. 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. Facebook tries to remove the accounts when it becomes aware of them, but they spring up soon again like a game of whack-a-mole.
Recently a woman from Schodack New York who is a fan of the “Yellowstone” television show was scammed out of $70,000 after falling victim to a scammer posing as Cole Hauser, the actor who plays Rip on Yellowstone. The phony Hauser began a long running conversation with his victim on Facebook Messenger and offered to get her a role in the television show as well as buy her a home if she sent the $70,000. Now the money is gone and you won’t be seeing her on Yellowstone.
Facebook has a blue verification badge program that helps people know that a celebrity Facebook page is authentic. The blue check verification badge is used by public figures and media organizations to indicate that Facebook has verified the account as legitimate. Many of the Facebook and other social media scams involve getting something for nothing. 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. 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.
As for Facebook accounts of celebrities always look for the blue check verification.
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