The trend in fake impostor accounts on channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is rising, so to keep everyone safe, we wanted to share some ways to spot a scammer—and what to do if they contact you.
Scammers today typically target folks they see leaving comments regularly on a celebrity’s official account. They usually approach them by replying to comments that have already been made, pretending they’re the celebrity and claiming that they want to chat further with the fan.
Alternately, they may instead Direct Message privately and claim to be either the celebrity or a member of their management team.
One of the most popular scams is catfishing as the celebrity, pretending to fall in love with the fan, and then asking for funds to purchase a plane ticket to visit and connect in person.
Another common practice is ‘personally’ asking for donations for a charity or cause that is affiliated with the celebrity.
And yet another scam comes from those pretending to be part of management that wish to arrange a “meet and greet” or special private performance for the fan … of course for a large sum of money.
In all of these cases, once the fan pays the scammer, the scammer disappears and is never to be seen again.
The Red Flags
Here are some simple ways to spot a scammer:
- Is their username suspicious? If it is not the celebrity’s official account with a verified blue check, it is not them. Often times, scammers will use the same profile photo that’s used in the official account and then just add numbers or a phrase to the end.
- Is the language used unfamiliar for that personality? Does it sound like the celebrity? Often times fraudulent posters are in a hurry and make obvious grammatical errors as well as using words and phrases the celebrity would never say.
- Do you see the same comment as a reply to other people on the same page or in the same thread? Real celebrities don’t cut-and-paste cookie cutter responses to their friends and fans.
- Are they asking to connect on another platform, such as Telegram or WhatsApp? Genuine interactions remain on the platform where you’re seeing the original content.
- Are they asking you for a fee to have a special experience with the celebrity or donate money to a cause? These aren’t things that would ever be asked privately of any fan.
- Are they claiming to be a member of the celebrity’s management team, though their name and photo are unfamiliar? Celebrity management teams will never reach out via direct message for any reason. If there are legitimate events planned, the celebrity’s official website and social pages will advertise them.
At The White Feather Foundation, no member of our team (including our founder) will ever privately Direct Message any of our supporters to request funds. All of our active campaigns can be found here on our official website and donations can be made directly here.
We post content to official social accounts where we promote our campaigns on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but do not participate in WhatsApp or Telegram.
Our TWFF merchandise and partner TWFF merchandise can be found on this website, julianlennon.com, partner websites (candles, jewelry, oil, protector packs for kids) and in our shops on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
If you have been contacted by a suspicious user, please report them immediately to the relevant social platform. Once you’ve done that, block them from your profile so they can no longer harass you or see your posts to the celebrity they’re impersonating.
If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, there are resources available to help you:
If you paid a fraudulent fee, contact your bank or credit company to contest the charge and get the authorities involved if necessary.
Above all, be aware and stay safe!