Tennessee Officials Warn Against Celebrity Scams

Tennessee officials urge vigilance against scams exploiting celebrity names and likenesses.

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, in collaboration with the Secretary of State, has issued a warning to Tennesseans about the rising threat of scammers exploiting the name and likeness of celebrities to deceive consumers.

“We love that Tennessee is home to lots of celebrities who generously give back to our communities,” said Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti. “It’s reprehensible that scammers would exploit a celebrity’s name to deceive hardworking Tennesseans who want to help their neighbors. My office is glad to collaborate with the Secretary of State to expose these fraudulent schemes and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.”

Secretary of State Tre Hargett also commented on the issue, noting the significant rise in such scams. “Sadly, we’ve seen a significant rise in scammers attempting to utilize the name or likeness of celebrities to take advantage of consumers,” he stated. “We encourage all to remain vigilant and report any questionable communications to us or the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office so we can prevent Tennesseans from being victimized.”

The Division of Consumer Affairs advises consumers to be aware that celebrity scams can take various forms, including:

**Fake Charities:** Scammers may create fraudulent charities and use a celebrity’s likeness to solicit donations. Before donating, consumers are urged to research the charity:

– Look up the charity on a site like Charity Navigator.

– Verify the charity’s registration with the Tennessee Secretary of State at their official website.

– Check the charity’s tax-exempt status using the IRS’s website.

**Bogus Endorsements:** Scammers may create promotional posts that appear to be endorsed by a celebrity. These posts might use doctored photos, videos, and audio to appear authentic. Before committing funds:

– Search online using the celebrity’s name, the company or product name, and terms like “scam” or “fake.”

– Remember that all investments come with risks; be wary of promises of high returns with little or no risk.

– Consult your doctor if considering a celebrity-endorsed health product.

**Online Phishing Schemes:** Scammers may impersonate celebrities to obtain personal or financial information. They might create fake social media accounts, send direct messages, emails, or set up fake websites. The message might claim urgency, urging you to act fast. To protect yourself:

– Never send money or provide personal information to someone you have only communicated with online, regardless of how famous they claim to be.

– Be cautious if asked to send money via bank wire, gift cards, cash, or cryptocurrency, as these are common tactics used by scammers.

If you encounter a celebrity scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office.

Source: Read Original Release

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