Fake ads endorsed by celebrities have been given a sophisticated twist recently to make them appear even more genuine.

These fake ads, typically posted on social media, take an image of a well-known celebrity such as Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones, and consumer champion Martin Lewis. The ads are prolific and often feature fake reviews to scam someone into thinking they are genuine.

However, a strain of these ads has been discovered using a fake courier website and delivery services. In a recent example, someone bought a CBD supplement for £5 but the company in question took almost £200 from their account.

When the issue was raised with the company it apologised and said the product had already been shipped, but that the customer could return it for free for a full refund. Six weeks later, it still hadn’t arrived.

The scam included a shipping tracker website which said there had been a problem delivering the package to the address.
  • The company was responsive to the complaints and sent confirmation emails that included a link to track the ‘order’. But the shipping ‘tracking’ website was a fake.
  • It had been designed to show a realistic timeline of the order, falsely reporting that it left a warehouse in the US and travelled to the UK via air cargo, but then encountered an unexplained issue when being delivered.
  • This elaborate customer service scam was used to lure the victim into giving up and forgetting about their orders or write them off as being lost.
As online fraud becomes increasingly sophisticated it’s doubly important to carry out checks before parting with cash online.
  • A quick Google search will often reveal the truth. The golden rule if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.
  • Celebrities do endorse many brands, but online ads featuring well-known names, especially ones that are promoting ‘wonder’ products or get-rich-quick schemes, should be treated with great caution.