Here’s another example of IMPOSTOR SYNDROME

Yet it references the legend’s name in promo materials for a crypto con. This is how they operate.

The Alert on Celebrity-Driven Crypto Scams

For example, there is a new brand of criminality on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), featuring Sir David Attenborough’s name, as the veteran broadcaster and environmentalist has pointed out to us, to try to extract money from people. The scammers lure people in with promises of investments in ‘crypto’ – currencies that are only a notch above worthless (‘crypto’ is a psuedo-science of human behaviour) – although the scammers may claim they are ‘based’ on celebrities. Attenborough is far from the only celeb to have his name associated with such criminal behaviour – even our own names have been used to open accounts pretending to be from us.

Unraveling the David Attenborough Scam: A Closer Look

This scam is not an original one, but part of a flourishing new trend of ‘celebrity endorsement’ scams. Victims are lured into fake images or deepfake videos of Sir David Attenborough apparently endorsing lucrative cryptocurrencies. This doesn’t actually involve Attenborough in any way.

Deciphering Celebrity Endorsement Scams

Celebrity scams – also a well-worn scammer trope – take advantage of adoration for famous individuals such as Attenborough, using faked images to promise that they are backing a financial investment – potentially, a crypto asset.

The Mechanism Behind the Crypto Scam

Once there, victims are directed towards fake articles on websites that look like genuine news media outlets and repeat the myth that Attenborough has invested in cryptocurrencies. Added to this is a sense of urgency, a staple of fraudulent narratives – acting fast is the only way to take part in an opportunity that could vanish at any moment.

David Attenborough's Response to the Scam

But when Sir David Attenborough found that his name was being used to promote these scams, he condemned them outright. He has made it clear that he has nothing to do with cryptocurrencies and would not be caught dead endorsing any of them, warning people not to fall for these false advertisements.

Safeguarding Against Celebrity Scams on Social Media

And we should be aware that the bogus nature of celebrity-based scams is not unique to Attenborough. Many other famous people fall prey to this kind of activity. People need to be aware and alert when using social media so they don’t fall victim to obvious traps. It’s always important to ask questions about investments, whether on social media or elsewhere – and particularly when they seem too good to be true, or when they involve a celebrity endorsement.

About Classic Scams and Their Evolution

Classic scams evolve in lockstep with the digital landscape. David Attenborough, the face of the celebrity endorsement scam, is also the face of the cryptocurrency scam. The base behaviour of the classic scam – deception for money – is unchanging. The same is true of the technology used to deliver it. Scams adapt to the media of the moment. The best way to defend yourself in the digital world is to understand how scams work, and what makes them work. Be prepared. The classic scam will never go out of style. But neither should its victims.

Dissecting the anatomy of the Attenborough scam (and the darker world of celebrity endorsement frauds more generally) reveals the underbelly of digital entrepreneurialism. In a constantly changing digital world, shady scams will continue to adapt and mutate to take advantage of the gullible – meaning that the internet’s most valuable asset is a little healthy scepticism.

Jun 17, 2024
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