How scammers are using A-listers Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman to rob ordinary Aussies of thousands of dollars – here’s how to spot the signs
- Scammers have been using high profile celebrities to endorse Bitcoin in a scam
- Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman are made to look like they endorse Bitcoin
- Police say people see the celebrities and are then convinced to invest in Bitcoin
- A man lost over $100,000 through the scam after seeing David Koch endorse it
Australians are being warned to be cautious of online Bitcoin scams which fraudulently use high profile celebrities to make it look like they’re endorsing the cryptocurrency.
Already this year there have been 432 people in New South Wales who have reported the fake endorsement scam, including a Sydney man who lost $100,000.
Chris Hemsworth was used by scammers to look like he endorsed Bitcoin (pictured, at the Mad Max film announcement on Monday)
One victim, a 61-year-old man from Sydney told police he had paid $102,000 for bitcoin after he seen it seemingly endorsed by TV personality David Koch on Facebook, the Daily Telegraph reported.
None of the celebrities mentioned have had any involvement with such companies, and are completely unaware their image is used to promote them.
The man had sent pictures of his and his wife’s licenses as well as utility bills to who he believed was a cryptocurrency trader.
A Victorian woman was tricked into investing more than $150,000 after she saw a clip of doctored clip of Chris Hemsworth seemingly talking about Bitcoin.
She had begun transferring $20,000 at a time before she called her bank to stop the money after the eighth or ninth time when she twigged she was being scammed.
As Bitcoin becomes more common investors are being warned of similar scams
Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Arbinja said none of the celebrities involved had ever endorsed the online currency despite being made to look so.
‘Because these people are in the public eye and they have had so many interviews, they use snippets of conversations they have had about things, put it all together and it appears like they are endorsing it,’ he said.
‘Or they use someone that speaks like them.’
Other celebrities who were used included David Koch and Dick Smith but Inspector Gordon said they had never endorsed Bitcoin.
‘None of these people have ever endorsed cryptocurrency,’ he said.
Nicole Kidman was made to look like she endorsed the cryptocurrency in order to gain the trust of investors
The victims of the scam were being used as either money laundering mules or paying for Bitcoin that never existed.
As Bitcoin grows in popularity and becomes prevalent people are beginning to trust the celebrities who appear to endorse the cryptocurrency Inspector Gordon said.
Celeste Barber was used by scammers to endorse Bitcoin as part of the scam
‘Their (celebrities) success coupled with bitcoin trajectory, (investors) see a common thread and that’s why people get duped buying Bitcoin (in these scams),’ he said.
Scam watch posted a public warning on Twitter about a scam that used Hemsworth to endorse the cryptocurrency.
‘Don’t fall for this latest cryptocurrency celebrity endorsement scam using #COVID-19 and impersonating Chris Hemsworth. If you see the ad – don’t click on any links,’ the tweet read.
Anyone who invests was warned to only use legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges that are registered with AUSTRAC.