A popular way many celebrities interact with fans or promote their projects is by using Facebook Live.
It’s great to see your favorite stars online especially when social distancing would otherwise prevent them from working. While you are enjoying this free entertainment, scammers have found a way to profit off live streaming.

How It Works

In an effort to confuse the fan, scammers create fake Facebook accounts that imitate a celebrity’s real Facebook page. The pages have similar names, pictures, and some even go as far as duplicating post from the celebrity’s real page.

The scammer will then create a “Live” stream on the account using a video the celebrity had posted from a previous live session. The post will contain hashtags with trending topics making it easy to find by unsuspecting victims, with instructions on how to get free money.

For instance, here is an example of a Will Smith scammer account. The account asks that fans comment “stay home” on the video and then wait for a private message with more info to receive $5,000. Scammers who put in the extra mile will also add “payment confirmations” on the video to cover up the fact that the celebrity isn’t interacting with fans or talking about the giveaway.

The Scam

Once the fan follows the post directions they will receive an email with instructions on how to claim
their cash. This can differ by scammer, but there are two popular ways circulating right now.

Tactic One – The scammer will ask for your bank account information to wire the funds over.
Tactic Two – The scammer will ask for your cash payment application information (Venmo, Paypal, Zelle, etc.) and ask that you send money over to confirm your account before they send their giveaway money.

No matter which tactic the scammer uses, they either have the money the fan transferred or they have
access to your bank account and everything in it.

How to Spot a Fake Account

Spotting a fake account does require some investigation which is how so many people fall for this scam.
Always take the time to double-check the source because the scammer will use the false sense of urgency to take advantage of the fan.

The easiest way is to look for the blue checkmark next to the profile picture, which means the account has been verified. Below is Will Smith’s real page VS the scammers.

Make sure to check the page’s activity to make sure it seems legit. Celebrity pages will typically have
hundreds of pictures, posts, and followers.

Lastly, do a quick search to see what pages pull up. When searching “Will Smith” on Facebook, the first
result is the real page, while the scammer account “Will.Smith.Tv” is one of the last results.

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