Utahns are losing money and their personal info to celebrity imposter scams

May 8, 2024, 10:19 PM | Updated: 10:36 pm

SALT LAKE CITY A Utah man contacted the KSL Investigators to ask us to verify if he was messaging the real Gal Gadot of “Wonder Woman” fame through social media. This was after he sent her $1,700. Only, it wasn’t the real Gal Gadot. It was an imposter. And he’s far from being the only one to have fallen for a celebrity imposter scam.

Gadot, Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift, Keanu Reeves among many other celebrities have had their names and images hijacked by con artists to help them steal money from loyal fans.

“They really want to believe in what they’re seeing,” said cybersecurity firm Aura’s, Zulfikar Ramzan, of fans excited by interacting with their favorite celebrities. “And that causes them to let down their guard to make really poor decisions.”

Ramzan says scammers create fake social media accounts that mirror a real celebrity’s posts, pics and videos. The fans who interact get messaged by their favorite movie star, singer, athlete – you name it.

“They’re just so many forms of scams out there,” he said.

The bogus star might make a “personal” plea for help or money for their charity. Or they might promise a high return on an investment in their project or in a cryptocurrency. Another celebrity imposter scheme involves telling their victim that they have won a contest and just need to pay a fee to get their prize.

Ramzan says scammers also use artificial intelligence to create bogus ads or social media posts that show celebrities seemingly endorsing a product.

“With the idea of deep fakes and other AI tools, it’s so easy to impersonate somebody and make it look incredibly believable,” he said.

To avoid falling for a celebrity imposter scam, start by sticking to verified celebrity accounts. They’ll have a verified badge next to the username. Though Ramzan warns posting on a real account can still put you at risk.

“Anybody who’s looking at that page can see that you’ve commented and thereby leading them to believe you are perhaps a strong fan or have some kind of an interest in that celebrity,” he cautioned.

Which is why you have to remember that no celebrity will ask you for money or personal info through social media. And never share any of that info after getting an out-of-the-blue message from anyone – even Gal Gadot.

With almost any scam, con artists create a sense of urgency so you’ll ignore any inkling you might have that something’s wrong. So, always, stop and think critically about whether any unsolicited offer or plea is legitimate.

Get Gephardt

FILE - This combination of 2017-2022 photos shows the logos of Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Snapch...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Scammers offer to help regain control of hacked social media accounts for a fee

People are advertising they can help you get back into your hacked social media accounts. It is a lie.

16 hours ago

A Utah man purchased Aerosmith tickets back when the show was scheduled in 2023, but the show got p...

Matt Gephardt

Utahns fighting for refunds on postponed Aerosmith concert

A Utah man purchased Aerosmith tickets back when the show was scheduled in 2023, but the show got pushed to a day that no longer works for him. He decided to Get Gephardt when his quest for a refund hit a dead end.

3 days ago

The USDA estimates we toss out 30-40% of our food purchases, even though much of it is perfectly sa...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Food for thought: How understanding date labels can prevent food waste

The USDA estimates we toss out 30-40% of our food purchases, even though much of it is perfectly safe to eat. Decoding date labels could help you bust inflation.

8 days ago

KSL’s Matt Gephardt price shopped several items at traditional grocery stores and specialty food ...

Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Will shopping specialty food markets save you money?

To save money on your groceries, a specialty food market might not come to mind. But KSL Consumer Investigator Matt Gephardt found branching out to specialty food markets might help you bust some grocery inflation.

9 days ago

Cris Meyers showing Matt Gephardt the arrest warrant he was sent by the fake cop....

Matt Gephardt

Law enforcement scams threatening jailtime if you don’t pay on the rise in Utah

Law enforcement scams, that threaten jail for citizens if they don’t pay immediately are on the rise in Utah

16 days ago

(FILE) A man working on a car with the hood lifted up....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What you should know about extended car warranties and how to fight denials

One after another, the KSL Investigators heard from Utahns who paid monthly for an extended auto warranty but have not had a smooth ride in their repairs covered.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Utahns are losing money and their personal info to celebrity imposter scams