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Did your favorite celebrity reach out to you on social media?

Before you get too excited, are you sure it’s that person? Really sure? We’ve heard reports that scammers, who will try just about anything to separate you from your money, are now posing as celebrities on social media. They’re asking fans to send money for all kinds of supposed reasons – like claiming a prize, donating to a charity, or giving help of some kind. Some celebs do raise money for legitimate causes. But you want to be sure the cause—and the person asking you to support it—are real.

Imposter scams come in many varieties, but they all work the same way: a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money. And that’s exactly what these celebrity imposters are trying to do.

So what should you do if a celebrity contacts you on social media and asks for money?

  • Slow down. Before you send money, talk with someone you trust.
  • Do some research: search online for the celebrity’s name plus “scam.” Do the same with any charity or cause they’re asking you to support—and learn more about charity scams here.
  • Never send money, gift cards or prepaid debit cards to someone you don’t know or haven’t met – even celebrities you meet on social media.
  • If you sent money to a scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (your bank, wire transfer service, gift card company, or prepaid debit card company). Tell them the transaction was a fraud. Ask the company to reverse the transaction, if it’s possible.
  • Report your experience to the social media site and to the FTC.

To learn more about imposter scams, visit FTC.gov/imposters.

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856 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

tmaybes
August 08, 2018
I am receiving a lot of requests on Instagram for celebrity impostors for Vin Diesel and the country singer Chris Young. They want a credit card and they say they will pay off your debt. Then they want you to take out a cash advance on your card and send it through Walmart to the charity organization. They also ask you to get iTunes cards as well. These impostors are very clever and resourceful.
Zena
August 09, 2018

In reply to by tmaybes

I'm getting them from Toby Keith and they are quite knowledgeable of him. They send photos of his family and say he's divorcing his wife. Starting a new charity for children.
AZ
October 11, 2018

In reply to by Zena

I know some one this is happening to right now supposedly it’s his lawyer and they lawyer wants this person to send $1400 more
dpgarcia
January 22, 2019

In reply to by Zena

I also received messages from this bogus Toby Keith. He showed me his supposed bedroom full of pictures and posters of the real Toby Keith. Looked more like a obsessed fan.
fiona
August 28, 2018

In reply to by tmaybes

I just got one from Vin Diesel...haha. Sure. Asked for ITunes card and donation to some charity address in Florida that turned out to be an empty house. When I protested the iTune card, got miffy and ended up blocking me and telling to go, well..somewhere hot! LOL! I blocked him too. Wow! It was intense, and looking back at it I now wonder why I didn't twig sooner. This guy was good..lots pics etc. Bad, bad, bad!
Beck45
July 26, 2019

In reply to by Jenny13

He just video chatted me on hangouts. I know it is fake. When i ask personal info he doesn't answer. He side steps. He wouldn't speak on the video. It was impressive. But I am not falling for it.
LadyKytten13
October 09, 2019

In reply to by fiona

There are several impostors pretending to be Keith Sweat . Watch out for that! Keith Sweat is NOT a foreigner, nor does he live in Nigeria. The impostor's English is atrocious as hell, on the phone, and in a text message. Do not fall for it!!!
DoNs geeNs Gee…
December 28, 2019

In reply to by LadyKytten13

You are so right Keith Sweat has a lot of them on his page
Sweetness 2017
January 30, 2020

In reply to by LadyKytten13

3 years ago I was scammed by a imposter celebrity RnB Artist Keith Sweat November 1,2017 and he told me he was in love with me and he could help me out of I send him $723.00 wired it Western Union he would put his fake Lawyer $1,2000 on my Debit card when that day came he kept on texting me asking me did you send that I lived to my daughter and told her I had to paid my life insurance when seconds turn to minutes and then hours no money back he lied to me he use me when I was so vulnerable at that time I lost everything because what this fake wanna be Keith Sweat did to me 3 years ago please this is the truth on everything I love on God knows what I went through!
Fraud alerted
July 26, 2020

In reply to by LadyKytten13

He is contacting me right now..i just came here to look this up thanks sis 2020. Been taking for a few days even tried a video chat that i couldn't hear could just see his face . probably video clips of the real Keith sweat. What a shame they are doing this in his name. Person has a texas number Keith lives in GA. And never calls just text messages lots of them!! Hes consistent just not keith sweat.
kwchic
August 06, 2019

In reply to by tmaybes

Vin Diesel imposter hit me up a few days ago on Twitter. After 1 1/2 days of sending me msgs....ended up trying to convince e he’d like to meet me in person but I’d need to pay his management team for a meet & greet ticket in order to meet in person. Then I realized - it was an imposter simply trying to scam money out of me. Said no!
Concerned
August 26, 2020

In reply to by kwchic

I got an email like that for Jared Leto, says to pay airline ticket and everything through management. Then got email from that company with the prices of all of it.
Over it
March 20, 2021

In reply to by Concerned

I am going through this now with “ Kevin Costner” it’s so sad because it seems real . Even sent a copy of his passport for proof of identity which seemed so legit . But yes in order to meet him ( since he’s going through a divorce but not announced in the media yet , excuses for everything ) I have to pay his management for a meet and greet . They really prey on women’s dreams of being loved by an “ impressive” man. Beware this only happens in the movies ...
SS
August 08, 2018
I have been fighting off imposters for romance interest and charities of Toby Keith Covel, Toby Keith, Country A-lister since January. Yes, I'm a fan and member of his fan club. Asking for donations as a charter member for building a new homeless children home in South Carolina or Oklahoma where his present charity is located. Is very knowledgeable of Toby Keith includes personal photos as well.
SS
August 09, 2018
I get them from Toby Keith imposters. 2 or 3 every other day on Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram. Starting new charity. Very personal photos are sent too, of family. They claim to be divorcing his wife.
luv2read
August 10, 2018
When I get these calls I simply say, "Who the hell is he/she?" 99% of the time they hang up. Guess they don't want to explain or don't want to waste time because they have to get to the next party right away.
Smilie
August 12, 2018
Someone is impersonating Vin Diesel, sends pictures from Vin Diesels Instagram page, is very knowledgeable about his private life, tells you he loves you and a few days later asks for $20,000 as his bank declined card do to wrong IP address, gets angry when you say know and you really don’t care, later he comes back with an agent friend lent him $10,000 and could I send the rest. Refused so he ask how much can I send, he would repay me double and was good for it. He uses Facebook as Vincent Mark Sinclair and Skype as vincent.diesel5. Please catch this guy as he is hurting the name of a good man and scamming older women.
Kstauffer
February 06, 2019

In reply to by Smilie

Got this guy's fake Instagram account blocked but will probably start another.
Ladybug09
May 19, 2019

In reply to by Smilie

Did this Vin Diesel person try to video chat you? My mom is on hangout and she said she is friends with Vin Diesel and she said he video chatted her and that's how she knows it's really him. I am on edge because I don't think any famous person would be on hang outs. I am just curious if there is a way to make it look like she video chatted Vin Diesel but it was actually a scammer!
danny dog
June 06, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

my wife is getting messages from messenger clamming that he is Chris hemsworth and he is selling vip tickets for men in black why would Chris hemswoth do this.
Wise Girl Barb
June 21, 2019

In reply to by danny dog

He wouldn't be asking for money, and neither would any of the rich singers or actors. They are worth millions. Many of the imposters want you to join Hangouts rather than talk on Messenger. I don't know why. Don't believe any of them and don't send anyone money over the internet or by Money cards, etc.
Chezzie
October 20, 2019

In reply to by Wise Girl Barb

Even the blue ticked accounts which are supposed to be the real celebrities accounts someone on there who said he was Leonardo DiCaprio asked me to message him on hangouts then he wrote me love poems told me I was beautiful asked for money for flight from Germany to England in March or April of this year he also wanted me to book a 5 star hotel and when I said I couldn't afford to pay 1000 for first class he asked me to pay £600 I said no I cant afford that so he said pay £500 and then he said me to get him some gift cards instead he also said he was in love with me and was saying he wanted to marry me wanted to buy me a purple wedding dress when I said to him I couldn't get him card he stopped messaging me . Then I was messaged by somone on the marked Leonardo DiCaprio foundation page asked me to send money to foundation he also asked me to message him on hangouts told me he was really Leonardo DiCaprio and that I was beautiful and said that if I gave money to his foundation for orphans he would marry me if I say no he gets angry if you dont give money tries to tell me I dont care about orphans if i dont give money.
Chezzie
October 27, 2019

In reply to by Chezzie

I even had had someone on private account Leonardo DiCaprio hk on instagrame asking for steam cards was asking for flight fare as well to being with them asked for 2 steam cards £200 worth if not he wanted me to get google play cards swears he is Leonardo DiCaprio bes nasty when you dont get them. He said he wanted to marry me? And theres was another one on instagrame chatwithleonardodicaprio online he wants to send me 15,000 and some other things clothes jewellery told I'd have to pay a fee of £745.12 for delivery charge crazy.
Chezzie
November 20, 2019

In reply to by Chezzie

I forgot to mention that I was scammed of £6000 Jan or feb of this year by somone saying they were Leonardo DiCaprio
Dave
November 27, 2019

In reply to by Chezzie

Do you have more info on this scam I have a friend that actually said they met with Leonardo and I am concerned it was some impersonating him
Pam
November 27, 2019

In reply to by Dave

I had Leonardo Decaprio video chat me on hangouts and then I told him I did not believe it was him so he told me he would come to see me in LA while I was there. A week later someone contacted me via Instagram from his foundation and said I won $300k and if I pay a insurance fee I will get the money. I did stupidly and now the money is gone and they said they will give me the money in 2 months. I know this is a scam and I fell hard for it
Jenny13
June 15, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

What is the Hangouts I'd? I think the same guy is trying to do me the same way.
Justbrigpls
October 05, 2019

In reply to by Jenny13

I had the same thing happen to me. Guy saying he's Marvin Sapp, says his bank accounts are frozen due to investigations. Hes trying to get a briefcase sent to him that has all his money from his shows in it. He keeps coming back requesting money after he gets a fan to send him an amount. What's crazy, he says he has an agent. The account ID for his agent is one that I've seen on his account making comments to his post.
SayWhat!!!
December 13, 2020

In reply to by Justbrigpls

The Marvin Sapp scam is still going on in 2020. The catch phrase is the same, (frozen bank account pending investigations). Only he's asking for money via Cashapp, PayPal, etc. The funds requested are allegedly for various reasons. He's asked for money for his foundation; to help a friend of his late wife; and money for his kids. What's even more bizarre, is that his son is "allegedly" asking for money too. The platform being used is Google Hangouts.
A.Rae03
June 27, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

Im so glad i just read this my mother in law actually just told me today the shes been video chatting with vin diesel too and im trying to explain to her this has got to be a scam...
Carrie
June 30, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

I have just been video chatting with Vin Diesel How can you tell if it's really him
Mary
July 19, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

THIS IS HAPPENING TO MY FRIEND AS WE SPEAK...VIN TOLD HER THAT HE IS IN LONDON FILMING F&F 9 AND NEEDS MONEY BECAUSE HE CAN'T USE HIS CREDITS CARDS OVER THERE.HE ALSO TOLD HER THAT HE IS SINGLE AND NOW RAISING HIS KIDS ON HIS OWN...HE HAS VIDEO CHATTED WITH HER....I TOLD HER IS A SCAM....HOPEFULLY HE GETS CAUGHT
Coral
October 05, 2019

In reply to by Mary

Yes, this is happening to me right now! He claims he's on the set of FF9 in Scotland. I was suspicious from the start and played along just to see where this was headed. I got the original direct message from Instagram. I challenged him to prove he was him and he said he could call but only on Google Hangouts and not IG because of privacy issues. Curious, I wanted to see if he really would send a video. I was with my friend and we called him together directly. Sure enough there was video of Vin Diesel but I was in a noisy restaurant and I couldn't hear his voice. He got mad at me for "sharing" the video and wanted "our conversation to be secret." I ignored him. A few hours later he kept texting me and I again asked him to show himself via video and this time he said he was too famous a celebrity and his manager would be angry so he needs to keep it secret. I wikied Vin Diesel and tried to trap him by asking questions about his movie history. He knows a lot about Vin on the surface but when you ask for more specific knowledge he sidesteps and answers in very vague terms. Anyhow, I couldn't figure out where all this was leading. I knew it was a scam but trying to figure out what the ask would be. What could a celebrity possibly ask for? So glad I found this page because it makes that he would ask for a charity donation. He hasn't gotten that far yet but now I know and can block and report him!
tallyho
August 22, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

I had someone video chat me a celebrity. I believed it to now I am not so sure because there is an app called manycam that will allow them to call you but replace a video of someone famous. They will disconnect the call and try again to disconnect but then start texting you to say the reception is really bad. This guy did tell me it was nice to meet me. I have been trying to find that video on line to see if there is one of this actor saying nice to meet you but they can take something out of a movie and clip it. This world is so deceptive that I am just about to the point of being a recluse. I mean the guy is THE most sought after star on the planet. What would he want with a person who is so ordinary. I wish but unfortunately they only want to text so I am out. I have to feel the presence of a human.
confused
September 22, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

I’m asking same question for same reason - did your Mum get asked to pay him anything ?
fan super star
September 24, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

yes some guy got my wife on hangout that were all the scammers tell you to go my wife thinks she best friends with Chris hemsworth it got so bad l had to move out .
Sam
November 27, 2019

In reply to by fan super star

My wife got contacted by Leonardo DiCaprio foundation and was told she won 400k and they sent her money to bank in Germany . She told them she did not believe them and the asked if she wanted to meet him. She connected via a google hangouts and was amazed it was him or she thought. He then told her he could transfer the money to a US bank account if she paid the taxes. We live LA and he said if she wanted they could meet. Not being very smart she said yes and I arrived home when he was arriving there. Yes he look a lot like him but it was so quick and they saw me and took off. So far we have lost 20k and he keeps texting her and people from the foundation of his, not sure how to stop it
hawaii808
October 16, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

I'm getting a message from Vin diesel on words with friends , giving me his email address on hangouts I did not add him on yet not sure if its real or a scammer , he said thats the only way he can prove to me his real
regret
October 30, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

My daughter so called video chatted with vin diesel also. Said it was real that she really was speaking to him. Trying to convince her its a scam since she was asked to send $800 worth of Steam cards and made her send them to an email address. Unfortunately she believed him and sent the game cards to an email and thinks she is getting $80,000 for doing this. Please don't send anybody that asks for money, gift cards, or game cards. IT'S ALL A SCAM!!!!!!
regret
November 03, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

My daughter was just scammed of a video chat with so called Vin Diesel and supposely asked her to send $800 worth of Stream gift cards. She really believed it was him and insisted she is gonna be with him and he will send $80,000 cash if she sends a copy of these cards to an email with the back of the cards scratched off for use of the card. People, there is no such thing as celebrities going with plain janes. Please don't send anybody anything or give them any of your information to them. You will be sorry in the end.
daisy
November 10, 2019

In reply to by Ladybug09

Hi.. I also have Vin Diesel on hangouts he wants to give me a fan card but I'm so scared he has his agent Barista Steve Ruben contact me also on hangouts I think this is all fake I don't know Vin Diesel contacted me on tiktok... I'm wondering if this is a scam...
Christie
December 15, 2019

In reply to by daisy

This happened to me recently. The person contacts you through Instagram and then tells you that the app Hangouts would be a lot safer to chat on. Then he says he stumbled across your profile and that he chose you. Then he professes his love for you and says that he wants to be with you. Then he won't leave you alone!! All the while claiming to be Vin Diesel. It's terrible.
anderson
February 08, 2020

In reply to by Christie

Can I get hangouts ID that person (Vin Diesel's scammer)? I want to play a game with that person and arrest that person
Kma
February 06, 2020

In reply to by Kp

Just thus very morning I was followed on Twitter by none other then Keanu Reeves. The video chat looked like him. He’s asking me for an iTunes card. REALLY!!
Troll
June 06, 2020

In reply to by Kp

They did to me too, video call that its pretending its keanu, but the video was delayed, and the way he speak to me was delayed too. They asking me a money. But he think that i believe him. He dont stop trying to call me, and message me, but i ignore him. Be very careful.