ARTICLE
7 February 2023

Investment Scams Surge Through The Use Of Fake Celebrity Endorsement

The disturbing trend of misrepresentation associated with financial fraud through celebrity endorsement is becoming more blatant with the announcement in the Metro...
UK Finance and Banking
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The disturbing trend of misrepresentation associated with financial fraud through celebrity endorsement is becoming more blatant with the announcement in the Metro at the beginning of the week that the as many as one in six firms on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warning list of questionable unauthorised investment brokers are still accessible online consumers. Furthermore, many of whom are using celebrities to endorse the firm and establish authenticity, with or without the celebrity's permission.

The fraudulent brokers frequently use well known footballers, athletes as well as actors and singers such as players in Manchester United FC, prominent business persons such as Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meadon and financial experts like Martin Lewis in a brazen attempt to lure victims into investing.

This practice is clearly very damaging to the target of the scam who has been persuaded to invest in a fake investment scheme but also to the celebrity whose name has been used to promote the scam, even if they agreed to the use of their name, unaware of the fraud. Individuals with a high profile should ensure that they or their management should thoroughly investigate any organisation that they are invited to support. Failure to do so will have repercussions.

Equally, if the celebrity has not agreed to the sponsorship and finds out at a later date that their name has been used, they, or their management, would be wise the make certain, in future, that a watching brief is kept for any mention of their name appearing across the internet purporting to endorse an investment entity.

Joanna Bailey, head of the banking and financial fraud litigation department, commented "the use of celebrities' images to endorse the fraudulent brokerages often lulls the novice investor into having confidence in the investments on offer. Victims genuinely believe that if an admired sportsman or businessman supports an investment scheme, that it must be sound and the firm is legitimate" Joanna further pointed out "the investment market is complex and risky, before considering investing you should always check if the firm is FCA registered, even if the firm states that it is FCA registered, if it is based in the Cayman Islands or some other off-shore location you will not be protected by the Financial Ombudsman. You should also consider whether the celebrity endorser is likely to have the necessary investment market expertise to be able to judge the scheme being promoted."

Giambrone & Partners' lawyers in the banking and financial fraud litigation department are highly experienced at pursuing and recovering our clients' money lost to fraud. Financial fraudsters are extremely adaptable and are quick to recognise and exploit a new trend. Our lawyers aim to keep ahead of the latest scams as they evolve in order to expand on existing strategies to assist our clients.

Devastating financial fraud is widespread and continues to expand year on year and the organisations involved in the management sportsmen and women, actors and singers have a role to play in monitoring the exploitation of a celebrity name, for the victims of fraud and for the celebrity themselves who will be tainted by the deception once it comes to light and their reputation may be irretrievably damaged.

Joanna Bailey frequently leads the litigation against financial institutions involved in cryptocurrency trading disputes, as well as Forex and Cryptocurrency investment issues and regulatory investigations and has some considerable success in retrieving our clients' funds lost in fraud.

Joanna has developed a range of strategies both to find the assets of the individuals perpetrating the fraudulent schemes and restore the funds to our clients. As well as recognising culpability in the organisations facilitating (but not associated with the fraud), by failing to undertake adequate due diligence.

She is highly experienced in high-value out-of-court settlement negotiations and has in-depth knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules as well as English common law.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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