TV star reveals 10-year legal battle
Lisa Wilkinson has discussed a decade-long battle she has been a part of, trying to take down online scammers.
During Monday night's episode of The Project, the panel revealed that online scams have doubled in 2020.
One particular scam that was "fleecing people of out huge sums of money" is using fake celebrity endorsements on Google and Facebook, host Waleed Aly said.
The global scam involves cryptocurrency and some of the faces involved allegedly include Chris Hemsworth, Dick Smith, Mike Baird, and even Project hosts Lisa and Waleed.
"At the moment we get one call an hour from people who have fallen for investment frauds that involve celebrity endorsements. They're increasingly popular because there's the power of being attracted to people seen as trustful and successful," said Professor David Lacey.
"When a user clicks on a scam ad, they're taken to a fake news story about a earning big money with a link to "bit coin evolution", "orbit coin revolution" or "trader".
Waleed explained how people get a phone call asking them to invest a small amount. If people find out early on that it is a scam, they can lose around $250.
However for many, they don't find out in time and are losing their life savings, sometimes "in excess of $100,000," he said.
Waleed revealed he constantly gets emails from people asking if what they're seeing is a scam or not.
Co-host Steve Price asked Waleed how he felt about being involved in these scams, and if he takes it personally.
"Yes. Because I'm now connected to this awful situation for these people irrevocably. It's got nothing to do with me but it feels like it's got everything to do with me," says Waleed.
Waleed then revealed that Lisa has tried to stop these scams that she's involved in, with no success.
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"Instagram and Facebook are the worst offenders," she began. "I've had lawyers on this for more than a decade, begging them to take it down, knowing the effect it was having on people.
"If you ever see an ad that's got my face attached to it and usually it's some sort of moisturiser and they ask for your credit card, all they're doing is they just want that number and take a small amount and then they'll be regularly taking amounts.
"Please don't do it. If you know anybody who thinks they're getting a moisturiser that's got my name attached to it, you don't. It's awful."
Similar scams were reported on in November 2019, when former NSW premier Mike Baird supposedly held the secret to getting rich using Bitcoin.
When Facebook users clicked on the fake article it took them to a website that looked almost identical to the news outlet it attributes the reporting to.
The scam article then falsely claimed Mr Baird appeared on The Project to promote a "wealth loophole" he found by investing in Bitcoin.
The fake article then claimed the investment opportunity can "transform anyone into a millionaire within 3-4 months".
Mr Baird said he thought it was amusing at first but then more and more people kept asking him about it.
"For the last several months, I've been featuring in a Facebook 'fake news' scam. Often it uses photo of me from a previous appearance on The Project, but there are other varieties," he wrote on Facebook.
"They link to, what appear to be, news sites. But it's actually all fake and just all designed to make people invest their money into a scam."
He made it clear he wasn't associated with any of the companies or products mentioned in the article and was "alarmed" that people may believe otherwise.
Originally published as Lisa reveals 10-year legal battle