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Beware of ‘celebrity endorsed’ get-rich-quick scams, warn authorities

PUBLISHED: 12:11 22 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:11 22 May 2020

The scam works by making small demands for money before gradually escalating and releasing a nominal sum  Picture GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

The scam works by making small demands for money before gradually escalating and releasing a nominal sum Picture GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

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Consumers have been warned to be wary of fake investment schemes using the images of celebrities to con people out of money.

The cryptocurrency scams are among the latest to be highlighted by Suffolk Trading Standards.

Authorities warned that criminals were exploiting trusted websites to post fake celebrity endorsements for cryptocurrency.

“In many cases, the fake adverts are convincingly designed to look like pages from the BBC or Mirror websites,” said the consumer protection department of Suffolk County Council.

“Celebrities used in these fake advertorials include Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones from Dragon’s Den, Ant McPartlin of presenting duo Ant and Dec, billionaire businessmen Lord Sugar, Sir Philip Green and Sir James Dyson, presenters Simon Cowell and Holly Willoughby, and former Love Island contestant Charlie Brake.

“To be clear, none of these celebrities are responsible for the fraud, but their images and reputations are being ruthlessly abused by organised scammers.”

The scam works by making small demands for money before gradually escalating and releasing a nominal sum to trick people into thinking they can get the rest.

Suffolk Trading Standards said consumers should be extremely sceptical of grandiose claims and seek advice from a financial adviser registered by the Financial Conduct Authority if unsure about something.

Novice investors should first consider traditional investments and aim to build wealth gradually through a diversified portfolio.

If you spot a scam, report it to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Earlier this week, officials received reports from women sent scam text messages claiming to be from a cervical screening programme.

The message advised they were overdue for screening, and should call a mobile number and provide personal details.

Suffolk Trading Standards said: “These messages are not from the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. Do not respond, or call the number.

“You’ll be sent an invitation letter in the post when it’s time to book your cervical screening appointment.

“Your letter will tell you where you can go for cervical screening and how to book.”


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