Some people have lost more than a quarter of a million pounds in recent months due to scammers abusing respected and trusted celebrities’ profiles to make false endorsement claims, a bank is warning.
NatWest said that in one case it has seen, someone lost more than £285,000 after responding to a bogus article which gave the false impression of being an interview with Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones.
In another case seen by the bank, a customer lost £275,000 after seeing a bogus advert on social media which featured an image of Sir David Attenborough.
The advert featured an image of Sir David, alongside text making false claims linking him to investments, NatWest said.
In other cases, customers have lost money after responding to scams falsely claiming to have links with well-known names such as Bradley Walsh, Jeff Bezos and Twitter owner Elon Musk, NatWest said.
It added that many scam adverts originate on social media.
Stuart Skinner, a scam expert at NatWest, said: “Criminals are using some of the UK’s most trusted and respected celebrity images to steal millions of pounds.
“I’d urge you to be extremely cautious of fake celebrity investment adverts seen online.
“A cross-industry effort with social media companies is required to stop this crime.”
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NatWest said it has warnings online and in its mobile banking app encouraging customers to think carefully before making investments.
Its data covered cases reported by NatWest customers, covering the period from June 2022 to May 2023.
Investment scams cost consumers £114.1 million in 2022, according to trade association UK Finance.