…By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media.
Dragon’s Den star, Peter Jones, takes the lead in the NatWest Celebrity Scam Super League, which exposes cases where celebrity images are used to deceive consumers into fraudulent investments.
The league table reveals the significant monetary losses suffered by victims who fell prey to these scams.
One customer lost over £285k after being enticed by a promotional article featuring an interview with Peter Jones, cleverly designed to resemble a genuine newspaper interview.
The misleading article acted as a catalyst for the scam, resulting in substantial financial loss.
At the second spot on the list is renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
A victim lost £275k after encountering an advertisement on Twitter.
The deceptive advert showcased an image of Attenborough alongside false claims that he earns £125k per month from stocks and shares linked to gold, natural gas, and oil.
Social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter, are the primary mediums where these scam ads proliferate.
Twitter owner Elon Musk’s image was exploited in an advert, causing a customer to lose £42,500.
Interestingly, popular television presenters Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield, who previously topped the table, do not make it into the top seven cases this year.
However, evidence suggests that criminals continue to employ these presenters in scam ads, albeit without significant financial impact on NatWest customers.
The list also includes other well-known figures such as business leaders and TV personalities, including Piers Morgan, Jeff Bezos, Martin Lewis, and Bradley Walsh.
Martin Lewis, known for his financial expertise, drops to fifth place this year but remains frequently used in scams, despite his explicit disavowal of endorsing investments through such means.
Investment scams cost UK consumers a staggering £114.1m in 2022, marking a 34% decrease from the previous year, as reported by UK Finance.
NatWest remains committed to investing in awareness-raising initiatives and prevention strategies to combat these fraudulent activities.
Stuart Skinner, NatWest Scam Expert, emphasizes the urgency of tackling this crime, stating that criminals exploit the trust associated with esteemed celebrity figures to steal millions of pounds.
He calls for collaborative efforts among various industries and social media companies to combat these scams effectively.
To protect customers, NatWest provides online warnings and reminders within their mobile banking app, encouraging individuals to exercise caution and think critically before making any investment decisions.
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