Tip of the Week - August 9, 2018 - Beware of Charity Scams Involving Celebrities and Social Media


Wouldn’t you be tickled if a celebrity followed you on one of your social media accounts, maybe even messaged you?  You can let out a chuckle first, but second…be sure you’re not dealing with an imposter who is trying to scam you for money!

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that unscrupulous people are posing as celebrities on social media, reaching out to individuals and seeking donations for “charities” or asking fans to send money to claim a prize.

“The truth is often right there at your fingertips,” said CSLEA Foundation Chair Kenny Ehrman.  “Do an internet search of the celebrity’s name and the supposed charity.  And don’t send prepaid debit cards, etc.”

Tips from the FTC:

  • Slow down. Before you send money, talk with someone you trust.
  • Do some research: search online for the celebrity’s name plus “scam.” Do the same with any charity or cause they’re asking you to support—and learn more about charity scams here.
  • Never send money, gift cards or prepaid debit cards to someone you don’t know or haven’t met – even celebrities you meet on social media.
  • If you sent money to a scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (your bank, wire transfer service, gift card company, or prepaid debit card company). Tell them the transaction was a fraud. Ask the company to reverse the transaction, if it’s possible.
  • Report your experience to the social media site and to the FTC.

To learn more about imposter scams, visit FTC.gov/imposters.