NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – Celebrities are turning to social media to warn their fans not to fall for impersonators online.
Tyler Perry is the latest star to post a video telling his fans he’s not giving away cars or asking for money.
The federal trade commission says that in 2017, Americans lost more than $3,000,000 to imposter scams.
In his video, Perry urged fans to share the warning message.
“It’s Tyler Perry,” he says in the video. “I’m not giving away anything. “Post this everywhere so people will know that is not true.”
His message was meant for fans like Manny Ramos, who says he nearly became a victim.
Scammers posing as Perry told Manny he won $2 million dollars.
But first, they asked him to wire them $200 dollars. That’s when Manny caught on.
“It teaches me a lesson, don’t believe everything you see,” Manny said.
Perry says his team has to get dozens of fake accounts shutdown daily.
But the star is just one of a growing number of celebrities who have been publicly warning about these scams.
Country music star Trace Adkins has also been a target.
He took to Facebook earlier this year to warn fans.
“Please do not engage with these people or send them money,” Adkins said in the video.
Adkins says in the last year it’s gotten worse.
“You know you report them, they shut them down, but then they start, it’s Whack-A-Mole. You can’t stop them,” he said.
Advocacy groups like National Consumer League say celebrities with huge fan bases are ideal targets for scammers. Vice president john breyault.
“A scammer can easily try to contact all five million and chances are he’s going to get a certain percentage that respond to that outreach,” said John Breyault, Vice President of the National Consumer League. “And unfortunately, it’s a lot of consumers who will be out their hard-earned cash.”
Facebook says they have taken down over 583 million fake accounts in 2018.
In a statement, the company said they “have made several recent improvements to combat impersonation, including face recognition technology, automation to detect scams, and improved reporting abilities.”
Twitter says they took down 9.9 million accounts in May 2018 and are bringing in new technology and staff to fight spam and abuse.
As for the scammers, Adkins had a message for them.
“I wish I could find these people,” he said. “I’m kind of old school. I would just go and give them a beating.”
Experts say consumers should check to see if the social media accounts are verified; on Twitter look for the blue check mark.
And don’t give out personal information like credit card and social security numbers.