Celebrities around the world are now bait for a new scam. Bitcoin is booming again after its major drop in 2018, and the recent success has a lot of people talking. Among those excited by the current highs are online scammers who draw victims into purchasing derivative assets based on cryptocurrencies and use get-rich-quick schemes such as Bitcoin Evolution to do it. One of their primary tactics is fake celebrity endorsements. You’ve probably seen ads claiming that a familiar face has made millions and that you can too. These scammers grow bolder every day and are now claiming false endorsements from famed musician Sir Paul McCartney.
Who’s Behind This Scam?
The people behind these fake celebrity endorsements are part of an elaborate network that funnels traders to shady online investment brokers. They get paid by these brokers based on how many people they manage to direct their scam websites. The brokers themselves operate practically anonymously, having no registration with financial regulators and working from a base of operations in some offshore haven with no effective financial oversight.
Most often, the brokers are selling contracts for differences, a complex asset that comes with huge risks. When you buy them, you aren’t buying any Bitcoin. You’re buying another asset linked to the price of Bitcoin and will follow its price changes. Scam brokers give new traders the option to buy at leverage, promising massive returns. In reality, this leverage means the slightest drop in price can completely wipe out their savings.
Scam Brokers Falsely Promise Guaranteed Returns
Big celebrity names like Paul McCartney get people to the broker’s website in the first place, but that isn’t the end of their pitch. They want to snag as many victims as possible, especially those without much experience investing.
To make their platform more appealing to beginners, these brokers promise automated trading handled by complex algorithms. They say that traders won’t need any market knowledge to succeed. Their so-called robots will do all the work. Of course, these claims are entirely incoherent. Any company that could develop foolproof trading algorithms wouldn’t need fake endorsements to get investors.
Big Celebrity Names Used in Fake Endorsements
Paul McCartney could be the biggest name these scammers have used so far, but he’s far from being the only one. Fake celebrity endorsements have been a hallmark of online investment fraud for years now. From UK football clubs to famous actors, this scam casts a wide net to draw in every possible victim. Some of their most outrageous fake endorsements have included Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Daniel Craig, and some of their fake ads have even featured Prince Harry.
Celebrities do plenty of legitimate endorsements; we see them every day. The reason brands are willing to pay stars to endorse their product is that it works. People are more likely to buy a product that a celebrity has endorsed. The same goes for the fake endorsements for scam brokers; people fall for them. These scams claim countless victims and are claiming more and more as these scams become more prominent. It’s not like a fake celebrity endorsement for a pair of sneakers. These people are losing hundreds, thousands, even their entire savings.
How to Avoid These Scammers
You probably shouldn’t base your investment decisions on celebrity endorsements, real or otherwise. But if you are looking to invest online, there are a few main things you can look for to avoid becoming a victim. A simple search of the broker’s name can bring up user reviews. If there is a large number of negative reviews, you should steer clear.
There’s no reason to choose an unregistered broker over a registered broker. Always look for the registration. Don’t take their website’s word for it; verify that the company is on the financial regulator’s website. Make sure the financial regulator the broker is with actually authorizes them to offer services within your country. There are some regulators out there that aren’t much better than no regulation at all.