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Fake Celebrity Ads Lure Kiwis into Crypto and FX Scams

Fake Celebrity Ads

Story Highlights

  • Fake celebrity Ads in social media promote fake crypto & forex investment platforms.
  • Clicks lead to fabricated news sites with celebrity interviews and links to scam platforms.
  • FMA urges Kiwis to avoid these ads and never share personal information to protect themselves.

The New Zealand Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is raising the alarm on a growing scam tactic: fake celebrity endorsements promoting cryptocurrency and forex investment schemes. These deceptive ads, often appearing on social media platforms, dupe unsuspecting Kiwis into investing in illegitimate platforms, resulting in lost funds and financial heartache.

Cunning Clickbait Traps Investors

The scammers employ a layered approach to ensnare victims. They create social media ads disguised as news articles, featuring photos of popular New Zealand celebrities alongside logos of well-known local news outlets. These seemingly innocuous ads don’t initially mention investments, creating a false sense of security upon clicking.

The click redirects the user to a fabricated news website. Here, a fabricated interview with the celebrity details their supposed success with a specific investment platform. Links within the article lead to fraudulent trading platforms. Once the potential victim provides their contact information, they’re contacted by a supposed “broker” or “financial advisor” requesting a hefty initial investment (around $250 USD/EUR).

To further legitimize the scam, the perpetrators may even provide initial “profits” deposited into the victim’s account. This fabricated success story fuels the illusion of legitimacy, encouraging further investment. However, when the victim attempts to withdraw funds, they encounter a significant hurdle – a hefty “release fee.” Sadly, even paying these fees doesn’t guarantee access to the invested funds; the scammers simply vanish with the money.

Combating the Celebrity Con

The prevalence of fake celebrity endorsements in online scams is a global concern. Scammers leverage the public’s trust in well-known figures to convince them of the legitimacy of their schemes. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools like deepfakes, creating realistic and convincing fake videos further fuels the problem.

The FMA urges New Zealanders to exercise extreme caution when encountering social media advertisements that use celebrities to promote investment opportunities. Their advice is simple yet crucial: Don’t click on them, and never share your personal information.

By staying vigilant and recognizing the tactics employed by these scammers, Kiwis can protect themselves from falling prey to these deceptive online schemes.