Crypto scams have become a huge problem around the world, one that is only becoming worse over time. Around the world, various crypto scams took in more than $14 billion in 2021. There are countless different types of crypto scams out there, and one of the most common methods used by scammers today is fake celebrity endorsements. You might have noticed ads on social media using Jeff Bezos as a fake endorsement for crypto scams, but why exactly are scammers doing this?
The Celebrity Endorsement Crypto Scam Business Model
Crypto scammers have developed many unique methods for enticing their victims. While there are many individual operations behind these scams, the majority of scams you’ll find on social media follow the same basic premise.
First, you’ll find a post or paid ad featuring a picture of a celebrity and a supposed endorsement. Jeff Bezos is a favorite among scammers, along with fellow billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson. However, the celebrities used in these scams also include national or regional celebrities as well.
The ad will say that Jeff Bezos or another celebrity has uncovered an exclusive Bitcoin opportunity and that this is your chance to get in on the ground floor. The ads often feature the logos of prominent news networks as well to make them look like a news story instead of just another ad. They promise that this opportunity can make you rich with only a minimal investment, even if you don’t know how to trade.
If you click on that ad, you’ll likely be sent to a fake news website. Here, the content in the ad is expanded to an entire fake news article. In most cases, they’ll include images from unrelated news and talk-show interviews featuring Jeff Bezos. They want you to think that this information is coming from an actual interview that Jeff Bezos did about the supposed Bitcoin opportunity, but all of it is fake.
The fake news article will contain links to the supposed Bitcoin opportunity, and they lead to a scam website like Bitcoin 360 AI as can be seen here. These websites are meant to look like brokers or crypto platforms that you can sign up for to invest. However, once you do make an account and deposit funds, you’ll soon find that you’re unable to make any withdrawals at all.
Why Do Scammers Choose Jeff Bezos?
To attract victims to their crypto scam websites, scammers rely on simple marketing tactics. They use fake celebrity endorsements for the same reason that legitimate companies use real celebrity endorsements. Having a celebrity attached makes the opportunity more appealing to potential victims, and that leads to higher click-thru rates for the scam website.
Scammers use Jeff Bezos because he is well-known for trading the title of the world’s richest man back and forth with Elon Musk. While Jeff Bezos is currently sitting in second place, that’s still very impressive to most people. Jeff Bezos is associated with well and savvy business decisions, which is the perfect fake celebrity endorsement for a supposed Bitcoin investment opportunity.
Jeff Bezos pioneered online shopping to reach new heights with Amazon. He saw the viability of online shopping before other players in the field and managed to turn it into a reality. When people see an ad saying that Jeff Bezos has found the next big thing, they’re likely to believe it because he’s managed to get in ahead of other investors many times before.
Can These Scammers Be Stopped?
Of course, Jeff Bezos has nothing to do with these scams. The scammers use the names and likenesses of countless celebrities in their social media ads, simply making new accounts whenever they’re removed. Despite the massive impact of these scams on their victims, very little progress has been made toward an actual solution.
The best way to protect yourself is to exercise a little common sense online. Don’t follow strange ads to supposed investment opportunities just because they feature a celebrity. If you do think you’ve found a real investment opportunity, make sure that any endorsements are actually genuine and verify that the platform or broker is properly registered with the correct financial regulator.
While social media platforms, governments, and celebrities themselves are taking action against these kinds of scams, the best prevention is to stay fully informed.