Tyler Perry is the latest star to. The Federal Trade Commission said that in 2017, Americans lost more than $3 million to imposter scams and they filed nearly 350,000 complaints.
Perry's message was meant for fans like Manny Ramos, who says he nearly became a victim. Scammers posing as Tyler Perry told Ramos he won $2 million but first, they asked him to wire them $200.
According to Perry, his team has to get dozens of fake accounts shutdown daily. Country music star Trace Adkins has also been a target. He took to Facebook earlier this year to warn people "do not engage with these people or send them money." Adkins said in the last year it's gotten worse.
"These people are starting to show up at concerts saying that I invited them to be there," Adkins said.
There are even women who think he proposed to them.
"There are women that show up and say, 'Oh, we're engaged.' I don't know what anybody is going to do about it, but you know you report them, and they shut them down, but then they start – it's whack-a-mole, you know. You can't stop them," Adkins said.
Advocacy groups like National Consumer League say celebrities with huge fan bases are ideal targets for scammers.
"A scammer can easily try to contact all 5 million and chances are he's going to get a certain percentage who will respond," said National Consumer League vice president John Breyault. "And unfortunately, it's a lot of consumers who will be out their hard-earned cash."
Facebook said 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 said 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. I'm kind of old school. I would just go give them a beating."
Breyault says consumers should check to see if the social media accounts are verified – particularly look for the blue check mark. He says celebrities aren't going to ask fans for money or send a private message. Consumers shouldn't click on a foreign link or give out any personal information like credit card numbers, emails, or social security numbers. Anyone who has been scammed should report it to the police or the FTC