You are here: Home - Investing - Experienced Investor - News -

Harry and Meghan used in impersonation scam ad

0
Written by: Emma Lunn
20/01/2022
Fake endorsements from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are being used to promote cryptocurrency-related investment schemes on social media.

Photos and bogus interviews with the couple and other celebrities are being used to attract investors by dodgy companies running pyramid or Ponzi schemes and other scams.

One headline on a scam ad said: “Harry and Meghan shocked everyone in the studio by revealing how they are making an extra £128k a month”.

Other famous people who have been used in impersonation ads include Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg.

In 2021, there were more than 34,000 reports from consumers with suspicions about possibly fraudulent investment offers reported to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In comparison in 2016, the figure stood at about 8,000.

Debbie Barton, financial crime prevention expert at Quilter, said: “Sadly, Harry and Meghan are being targeted because they are household names and can grab the attention of potentially millions of people. They are not the first to be impersonated and certainly won’t be the last. It is far too easy for scammers to steal the identity of a well-known celebrity, or impersonate the brand of a well-known financial services firm, host a website with a domain located outside the UK, and use a cheap advert to reach potentially thousands of unsuspecting individuals.

“Impersonation scams are rife online and on social media, and without government action they will simply get worse. We need the government to include paid-for advertising within the scope of the Online Safety Bill so that online content providers have a legal duty to remove these suspected scams.

“We are almost there, with the government saying recently that they’ve heard the message ‘loud and clear’. Now this particular case has emerged there really is no excuse not to act.”

How to avoid impersonation scammers

Check the FCA’s register

Whenever you consider an investment opportunity, you should check the FCA’s register to make sure you are dealing with a real financial services firm. An FCA registration number will be listed which you can use to verify that the firm is real.

Check the FCA’s warning list

The list is updated daily and provides a record of every clone firm scam identified so you can check whether there have been any cases of impersonation fraud with the firm in question.

Consider how you were contacted

If you have been contacted by phone, email or text out of the blue without even looking for an investment then it’s highly likely it is a scam.

Be wary of investment comparison sites

Be wary of sites that try to get your attention by using an advert on a search engine and that asks you to input your details. You have no control over where your details go, and to whom they are sold.

Be wary if there’s a celebrity endorsement

Scammers like to use trusted individuals such as Martin Lewis to catch people’s attention and give the perception that the investment is a no-brainer. More often than not these endorsements are completely fictitious.

Check for the little details

Look for any unexpected words in domain names, email addresses or in brochures. If you receive an email from someone, check exactly who it has come from. If it’s a scam, the email address may be filled with random numbers or be misspelled. There could be even more subtle additions, including words relating to finance or even one letter added or amended, which can be very easily missed.

If it’s too good to be true

It is said often, but if something looks too good to be true then it probably is. A rate of return considerably above the market rate with promises of guaranteed interest should set alarm bells ringing.

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Autumn Statement: Everything you need to know at a glance

Yesterday Chancellor Jeremy Hunt made his first fiscal statement in the role, outlining a range of tax measure...

End of Help to Buy: 10 alternatives for first-time buyers

The deadline for Help to Buy Equity Loan applications passed on 31 October. If you’re a first-time buyer who...

Moving to an energy prepayment meter: Everything you need to know

As households struggle with the soaring cost of energy, tens of thousands of billpayers are expected to move o...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week