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That Brush With a Star May Be a Run-in With a Scammer

Many celebrities use social media to connect with fans. They share career news, their personal views and behind-the-scenes looks at projects they are working on. But scammers are aware of this and are impersonating A-listers to con eager admirers.

How it works:

  • Scammers set up fake profiles on social media and impersonate celebrities.
  • They send direct messages to the star’s real followers.  
  • The message might ask for money, requesting donations to the actor’s favorite charity, or a fee to gain exclusive access to events or to process funds they are allegedly handing out fans.

What you should know:

  • Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are overflowing with fake celebrity accounts.
  • Bruce Springsteen, Trace Adkins and Oprah Winfrey are among thousands of celebrities whose personae swindlers have used online to solicit money from fans.
  • Celebrities typically do NOT contact fans directly out of the blue.

What you should do:

  • Look for the blue verification checkmark on celebrity social media accounts. If it’s not there, the account is not verified and could be that of an impostor.
  • Do a web search for the actor’s name along with the word “scam.”
  • If you get an online solicitation from a favorite celebrity, be wary — don’t respond to requests for money or sensitive personal information. 
  •  If you come across a celebrity impostor scam, let us know by reporting it on our scam-tracking map or call our Fraud Watch Helpline, 877-908-3360.

Knowledge gives you power over scams. The AARP Fraud Watch Network equips you with reliable, up-to-date insights and connects you to our free fraud helpline so you can better protect yourself and loved ones. We also advocate at the state, federal and local levels to enact policy changes that protect consumers and to enforce laws. 

P.S. Are you active on social media? Do you enjoy sharing information that can help friends and family to spot and avoid scams? Become a volunteer AARP Fraud Watch Network (FWN) Digital Fraud Fighter! Interested? Send us a note at FWN@aarp.org for more information.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network can help you spot and avoid scams. Sign up for free Watchdog Alerts, review our scam-tracking map, or call our toll-free fraud helpline at 877-908-3360 if you or a loved one suspect you’ve been a victim.