Images of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and Tesla chief Elon Musk are among celebrity pictures most used to defraud customers at one of Britain’s biggest banks, it said on Wednesday.
The pair feature in the top seven of NatWest bank’s annual Celebrity Scam Super League.
“Criminals are using some of the UK’s most trusted and respected celebrity images to steal millions of pounds,” said NatWest scam expert Stuart Skinner.
He urged the public “to be extremely cautious of fake celebrity investment adverts seen online”, adding that “a cross-industry effort with social media companies is required to eradicate” the problem.
Elon Musk was used in an advert that cost a customer £42 500
The list was topped by British entrepreneur and TV celebrity Peter Jones, above broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough in second.
Bezos came in fourth, with Musk in sixth.
The majority of the fake ads appeared on social media platforms including Facebook and Musk’s Twitter, NatWest noted.
One customer lost £275 000 after seeing an advertisement on Twitter.
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“The advert featured an image of Attenborough alongside text falsely claiming he makes £125 000 per month from stocks and shares related to gold, natural gas and oil,” the bank added.
Musk was used in an advert that cost a customer £42 500.
By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse