It’s not all Pink and rosy—celebrity scams on the rise!

15 September 2009

SCAMwatch has received reports of scammers using celebrities like Pink and Jennifer Hawkins to camouflage their attempts to steal your money, your personal details and, in some cases, your identity. They may even fool you into subscribing to a mobile premium service you don’t want or can’t afford.

Many sites on the internet legitimately offer free products or services but scammers can easily set up fake fan club websites offering concert tickets for sale or promoting competitions to win tickets and other prizes.

SCAMwatch understands that some competition ‘winners’ have been asked to provide photo identification or passport details to claim their prize. Consumers should be extremely wary about such requests—more than likely, scammers are trying to steal your identity.

In other cases, consumers report never receiving tickets they purchased from fake fan club websites. These fans lose their money and miss out on seeing their favourite artists!

SCAMwatch also warns that ‘free’ offers on the internet often turn out to be scams. They might offer you free access to otherwise restricted sites; free shares, downloads or trials of certain products; or even a free holiday. They can appear as annoying pop-ups while you are on the net or display as ads at the top or margins of websites, or they can be entire websites devoted exclusively to promoting a ‘free’ offer.

Usually, the offers require you to provide either credit card, bank account or other personal details, or they require you to pay an up-front fee to claim your ‘free’ prize or product.

Warning signs

  • You follow an internet ad or pop-up window advertising a free product or service.
  • When you try to find out more about a free offer, you are directed to a different website with more advertising.
  • The website offering the ‘free’ product does not appear to load up correctly or some of the links do not work.
  • To receive the ‘free’ product, you are required to register your credit card or bank account details.
  • You may also be pushed to provide personal information or pay some sort of fee or charge and be discouraged from seeking independent advice.
  • There might not be any legal information (copyright statements and terms of use, privacy policies etc.) contained on the page.

Protect yourself

  • If it looks too good to be true—it probably is.
  • NEVER enter your personal, credit card, online account information or mobile phone number on a website that you are not certain is genuine.
  • NEVER send your personal, credit card, online account details or mobile phone number through an email.
  • Read all the terms and conditions of any offer very carefully: claims of free or very cheap offers often have hidden costs.
  • Check all offers that involve your time, money or effort with an independent advisor before providing any details.
  • Be careful what personal information you provide on the internet; these details can be used by scammers to guess your passwords or to commit fraud.
  • Use well-known and reputable ticketing agents when buying tickets for your favourite artists or events.
  • NEVER send money or give your credit card, online account details or mobile phone number to anyone you do not know and trust—beware: some scammers hack into social networking sites and email accounts to trick you.

Report

If you think you have been targeted by a scammer, visit the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.

More information

Visit SCAMwatch for more tips on how to protect yourself and information about other internet scams, requests for your account information ('phishing' scams) and mobile phone scams.

You should also check out ‘Phishing scams on social networking sites—don’t be tricked into giving your information away!’ for the warning signs of hacked email and social networking accounts.

The UK Office of Fair Trading launched its ‘Just Tick It’ campaign last week. The campaign provides information on ticket scams, and hints to help you protect yourself when buying tickets online. Note that some information provided relates to laws in the United Kingdom.

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