Globally, fake celebrity endorsements in online publications and social media have become a common tactic used by scammers to exploit unsuspecting consumers.

These scams involve using well-known celebrities’ names and images to lend credibility to products or services that typically don’t deliver the promised results. The allure of products that claim to be endorsed by celebrities can easily entice people into making purchases without thoroughly verifying the legitimacy of the claims.

It doesn’t stop there!

Once consumers make an initial purchase, scammers can gather their online payment or banking card information and personal details. This information is used for fraudulent activities that can include making unauthorized purchases, identity theft, and even completely draining victims’ bank accounts!

These scams can have devastating financial and emotional consequences for the victims, who not only lose money but must deal with the aftermath of identity theft and financial fraud.

In association with the Noakes Foundation for your best interest

Typical fake celebrity endorsements and related scams

Miracle weight loss products

Celebrity profiles are misused to falsely endorse diet products. These claim to have exceptional health benefits that the products cannot deliver on.

Fake content and social media ad “campaigns” are used to lure people into purchasing fake products..

The scammers aim to “phish” their victims’ banking details. These are further abused for additional product “costs”.

Cryptocurrency scams

Celebrity profiles are used to endorse cryptocurrency ‘get rich quick’ schemes..

Paid Facebook ad campaigns utilize celebrity images to ‘endorse’ these schemes to make them appear authentic and verified..

Once a person clicks on the link to sign up, they are contacted by scammers who used high pressure tactics, such as repeated phone calls, to convince them to deposit funds into the fake schemes..

Steeply discounted products

Trusted retailers or brands appear to be selling products for an inexplicably low amount.

These products are promoted on Google News and link to a Facebook page set up for the retailer or brand.

Once a person clicks on the link to sign up, they are contacted by scammers who use high pressure tactics, such as repeated phone calls, to convince them to provide credit card details for the time-limited “special offer”.

Have you been scammed? Report it here!

Fill in a simple Google form to give us more detail about how you were scammed.

The information you provide will help us to build a more detailed profile around the type of scam
you were subjected to and allow us to make other unsuspecting people aware that scams like these exist.

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Why should you report fake celebrity endorsements?

Fake celebrity ads are big business, with career scammers working around the clock to finetune the way they lure unsuspecting individuals in.
By giving us feedback about how you were scammed, you help to:

Wondering if it’s a scam?

1. Do a Google Search to see if any negative reviews come up.

2. Verify the authenticity of the celebrity endorsement through the celebrity’s official social media accounts or on their official website.

3. Run a ‘scam check’ through one of these free websites:


IMPORTANT! Never provide personal or financial information to unfamiliar websites or sources, or over the telephone to an ‘agent’ you haven’t verified!

This research initiative is sponsored by the The Noakes Foundation. After being falsely associated with various product endorsements over the years (most recently, “Keto Gummies”), Emeritus Professor Tim Noakes and The Noakes Foundation set about trying to prevent this diet phishing fraud by raising public awareness and supporting related research from 2022.

It quickly became apparent that fraudulent celebrity endorsements are a huge scam industry and that there is a desperate need to increase the public’s awareness of the types of scams that occur.

Through research and information gained from the public, plus those celebrities who have been subject to identity theft, researchers are improving the public’s knowledge of these scams. Sharing new research insights with the public and celebrities should hopefully help to protect more people from being lured by false endorsements and scam ads.

The research team also strives to use the public’s feedback to bring attention to where social media companies (notably, META’s Facebook and Instagram, but also Microsoft’s LinkedIn and Elon Musk’s X!) can do better in preventing the scams they promote. There is also a need for search engines (such as Alphabet’s Google) to hide results for scam publications.

Here's what to do

Have you been scammed by a fake ad?

This might sound obvious, but some schemes/ scammers try to persuade you to give them your credit card details or to send one fee after another, even when you suspect something is wrong.

If you provided payment information to the fraudsters, block access to your accounts immediately.

Change your banking password and email address. Make sure that your new password is very strong.

If your credit card was utilized for any part of the transaction, call the fraud department at your bank and cancel your credit card immediately. You may be required to get a new account number.

Look out for suspicious emails, phone calls, texts or messages through social media.

Block or don’t answer calls from anyone you don’t know.

Don’t click on any links.

Keep a close eye on your bank account for any unauthorised transactions.

Report anything suspicious to your bank immediately.

Update your security software and run a scan for viruses. Delete anything identified as a problem and reset your passwords.

Has your identity been used in a fake ad?

Collect all the evidence you can find of the false advertisements you are featured in, including screenshots, links, and any other relevant information. This documentation will be helpful in taking action.

Use your official social media accounts and other platforms to publicly denounce the fake endorsements. Make it clear that you have not endorsed or promoted the products in question.

Inform your fans, followers, and the public about the fraudulent use of your identity. Provide them with accurate information about your real endorsements and affiliations.

Seek legal advice from an attorney who specializes in intellectual property and online issues. They can guide you through the legal options available to you.

Your attorney can help you send cease and desist letters to the parties responsible for the false endorsements. These letters demand that they stop using your identity for unauthorized promotions.

Depending on the severity of the situation and the impact on your reputation, you may consider taking legal action against the perpetrators to seek damages for any harm caused.

If the scam involves fraud, identity theft, or other illegal activities, report the incident to the relevant law enforcement authorities.

If the fake endorsements are appearing on specific websites or social media platforms, reach out to those platforms’ support teams to report the fraudulent content and request its removal.

Keep an eye on online discussions, reviews, and news related to the false endorsements. Address any misinformation promptly to set the record straight.

Ask your webmaster to use protection plug-ins designed to prevent the copying of your website’s imagery and texts.

Register old pictures with https://myows.com to protect your copyright over them, and lay a legal basis to challenge their misuse by third parties.

Use your platforms to educate your fans and followers about the prevalence of such scams and how to distinguish between genuine and fake endorsements.

Partner with similarly affected celebrities to raise awareness.