Fact check: Facebook live videos posing as celebrity cash giveaways are a scam


Some Facebook pages live stream celebrity content and impersonate them through fake accounts. These live videos are a scam designed to trick users into sharing personal or banking information.

Fact check by Reuters. Reuters

Archived examples can be seen archived here archive.vn/2PABi , archive.vn/VcsYZ and archive.vn/bS295 .

A live video impersonating singer Jennifer Lopez (archived here: archive.vn/RDg4V ) has the description: “I will give $5,000 cash to the first 900 people who correctly guess the number in the picture”

This live video was posted by a page called “jeniffer lopez” (archived here: archive.vn/RDg4V ). It premiered on December 14, 2020 and had 1 subscriber at the time of publication.

The page that posted the video also commented multiple times, asking users to share the video. A comment from the page reads: “Please share this live stream with your 10 groups, the more you share with the group the more chances you have to win. AND CHECK YOUR INBOX”

Lopez’s official Facebook page can be seen www.facebook.com/jenniferlopez . Part of Lopez’s official live video can be seen on Instagram here .

In the claims, the video itself does not mention any type of actual gift. The video description prompts users to make a specific comment, such as a number hidden in an optical illusion next to the video. An example of this can be seen archived here: archive.vn/VcsYZ .

When the Reuters team tried to comment, the page sent a direct message and asked us to take action such as sharing the video and registering with personal information on a non-Facebook website.

Other celebrities whose videos have been used by impersonator pages include Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, LeBron James and Ellen DeGeneres (archived here: archive.vn/f3HcR , archive.vn/VcsYZ , archive.vn/1TDU8 and archive.vn/bS295 )

The lack of a verified blue tick on accounts streaming the videos is a useful indicator for users to avoid them, although the videos include user comments that appear to fall into the trap of scams.

Resource One Credit Union posted an article on their website about this scam here . The article explains two tactics used by scammers: asking for bank account information or asking for information on cash payment apps such as Venmo, PayPal, Cash App or Zelle. Either way, the crooks would have access to personal information.

Business Insider reported a similar scam with users posing as celebrities donating cash on Cash App (here). While some celebrities give real cash gifts, an article from Vice here explains how it could lead users to be scammed by online copycats.

Facebook advises users to be careful of unknown people asking for money, asking for an upfront fee to receive a prize, asking to remove the conversation from Facebook, people pretending to be someone you know in an emergency and bad spelling and grammatical errors (here).


False. Facebook live videos from accounts impersonating online celebrities are a scam.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Learn more about our fact-checking work here.


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