This post is was originally published on The Penny Hoarder
Ever since Oprah Winfrey burst onto the scene in the mid-1980s, she’s been much more than a TV personality. For many, she’s a source of guidance and common sense. When Oprah speaks, people listen.
Plus, she gives away stuff to her fans. From cars to cash to the occasional Spanx, we’re talking a lot of stuff.
But for Oprah fans, things just got a little dicey. A new social media scam seeks to cash in on her fans’ loyalty, and it’s not cool.
Don’t Fall for This Oprah Instagram Scam
If you’ve seen an offer on social media that promises you money just for creating an Oprah Winfrey Network account, don’t believe it. It’s just the latest scam trying to capitalize on fans’ loyalty to their favorite TV stars. If you don’t believe me, just ask the people who almost sent money to scammers claiming to represent the “Property Brothers” a little while back.
According to CBS, the false promotion first showed up on Instagram offering $5,000 to each of the first 100,000 followers to create a fake Oprah Winfrey Network account.
Oprah herself reached out to her fans to warn them on her social media accounts saying, “It’s a fraud, it’s a fraud, it’s a fraud! Don’t believe it. Don’t give up any of your bank accounts or personal information to anybody posing as me, or anyone else, for that matter.”
It’s not the first time, nor is it likely the last, that scammers have used fake Oprah Winfrey accounts to swindle her followers. In response, Instagram stepped in to remove any fake accounts it can confirm. The CBS report says about 100 phony Oprah Instagram accounts have been removed so far.
Remember, before you jump on any celebrity-backed promotion, do some basic research. Is the account checked as the celebrity’s official account? How many followers does it have? Most celebrity accounts have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of followers. Then, check the celebrity’s website to see if the offer is listed there as well.
A true giveaway should never ask for your banking information. Don’t give it out… not even to Oprah.
Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.