Fraudsters used a faux Holly Willoughby advert to rip-off an unsuspecting member of the general public out of £370,000, as the tv host topped the checklist of celebrities utilized by on-line scammers.
The This Morning presenter was falsely quoted on an advert that appeared on Fb, which claimed each Ms Willoughby and co-host Philip Schofield had made an enormous return on a £200 cryptocurrency funding. One sufferer misplaced £370,000 over a number of funds to the scammer, who satisfied them to maintain sending cash over quite a lot of months.
The report by excessive road financial institution NatWest discovered scammers had additionally used the face of client champion Martin Lewis to lure folks into bogus cryptocurrency schemes. One sufferer misplaced £317,000 to a faux advert that includes Mr Lewis selling a “Bitcoin evolution”.
Different well-liked tv personalities have been used to lure victims into on-line scams, together with tv host Piers Morgan, Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden and billionaire Sir Richard Branson.
Ms Willoughby additionally ranked on the high of the checklist in 2021, when an funding rip-off utilizing her title price its sufferer £266,000. The very best worth fraud was 40pc increased this yr.
A spokesman for NatWest mentioned fraudsters continued to impersonate Ms Willoughby due to her fame for trustworthiness, and that This Morning’s viewers doubtless included many pensioners who had cash spare to take a position.
Stuart Skinner, of NatWest, warned funding adverts with celeb endorsements must be met with excessive warning. “In figuring out that criminals are exploiting the pictures of celebrities we are able to all take steps to guard ourselves. If in case you have seen an advert promising giant revenue, excessive charges of return or providing that can assist you spend money on cryptocurrency, that is more likely to be a rip-off – if it sounds too good to be true, it normally is.”
The financial institution discovered cryptocurrency scams with faux celeb endorsements have been changing into more and more widespread, with seven of its largest fraud instances involving digital currencies.
The cryptocurrency market has collapsed this yr, with Bitcoin shedding greater than 50pc of its worth. These digital currencies are usually not regulated investments in Britain, which signifies that there is no such thing as a safety from trade regulators. There is no such thing as a suggestion any of the celebrities are related to the scams.