Fraud is a pervasive and serious issue, with the ability to affect anybody, anywhere, at any time.
According to UK Finance, the scale of fraud is only growing. In the first half of 2021 alone, £753.9m was stolen due to fraud. This is an increase of almost 1/3 from the same period in the previous year.
At CEL Solicitors, when working with victims of fraud and scams, we often find that people feel self-conscious and reluctant to come forward after being targeted. Many people mistakenly believe that it is their own fault for falling for the scam.
But this isn’t true.
Anybody can be a victim of fraud and scams, with criminals – both cyber and otherwise – often using incredibly smart and manipulative tactics to convince and swindle victims out of their money.
Remember; you’re not alone, and there are people out there who can help you. Our dedicated fraud and scam team are on hand to offer support and guidance. It’s our mission to get your money back to you.
Below is a list of just some of the famous faces and celebrities who have also fallen victim to fraud and scams.
Between 2007 and 2010, the Manchester United player was scammed out of almost a quarter of a million pounds after travel agent Maria Silva used Ronaldo’s banking information to charge for some 200 trips that he had no knowledge of.
Maria’s plot was eventually discovered, and she was ordered to reimburse her victims to avoid prison.
The Deal or No Deal, and Noel’s House Party presenter found himself the victim of a bank fraud scam when a group of malicious financiers decimated his former business, Unique Group. Several other businesses were also affected, with a total of £245 million lost to the loan scam.
Following the trial of the financiers, Edmonds launched a claim for compensation (plus interest) and in 2019 settled on a reported £5million agreement with Lloyds Banking Group.
Former Blue Peter and Countryfile star revealed that she had been the victim of a bank impersonation scam, after which her entire savings account was cleaned out.
Bank impersonation scams are perpetrated by criminals who call a victim while pretending to work for their bank. The criminal will request access details, after which they will migrate funds out of the victim’s account and into a hidden one of their own.
Often, these criminals will call an individual informing them that their bank account is in danger and that it is urgent all money is transferred to a secondary “safe box” account. However, only the criminals have access to this “safe box”.
Talk show host and previous I’m a Celebrity participant Matthew Wright lost almost £10,000 when fraudsters accessed the email account and impersonated a builder he was employing.
Wright noted that the fraudsters went so far as to read through his previous correspondence with his builder and mimicked not only their language and personality but also had access to specific details of the job, including the payment amount, creating a perfect imitation of a trusted source.
Comedy actor Ben Stiller was swindled out of $250,000 by a malevolent stockbroker. Dana Giacchetto was employed by Stiller to help manage his finances, though he instead siphoned off a quarter of a million dollars instead.
Stiller wasn’t the lone victim of the fraudulent con, with fellow actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck also targeted, among others.
Best known for being a regular face on daytime ITV staple, Loose Women, Denise Welsh is yet another victim of bank fraud. She states that a supposed bank employee conned her into divulging her PIN number over the phone.
This impersonator claimed to work for the fraud department of her bank, calling several times warning her of suspicious activity on her account before requesting access to help her further.
Hollywood A-lister and 24-star Kiefer Sutherland found himself the victim of a somewhat unusual con when a cattle manager – Michael Wayne Carr – convinced the actor to invest in the cattle market.
The bovine bandit scammed Sutherland out of over $869,000 intended for buying cattle from Mexico to be sold in the United States.
Instead, Wayne Carr took off with the money. When he was eventually found, he was tried for forgery and grand larceny.
Lockdown friendly-face Steph McGovern was the victim of an HMRC fraud scam when an automated impostor call claiming to be from Her Majesty Revenue & Customs warned her of a pending lawsuit unless immediate payment was made.
McGovern rightfully reported the fraudulent call and number to Action Fraud before warning her Twitter followers.
Rip Off Britain presenter Gloria Hunniford revealed that she was victim to fraud and lost £120,000 when a trio of thieves – including a “lookalike” and an 18-year-old student – replicated her ID and bank details, before visiting a Santander branch and impersonating the celebrity, who at the time, was in her seventies.
Hunniford remarked: “She is still on the run. I worry that she still has a fake driving licence with my name on it. It was a badly researched scam, but it worked. It was disturbing and I feel violated.”
Chloe Roche, fraud team leader at CEL Solicitors, said: “It’s not surprising that a number of high-profile celebrities have been impacted by fraud as they are undoubtedly an attractive and often lucrative target for a scammer. It just goes to show that scams can and do happen to people from all walks of life, often with devastating consequences for those affected. We’d therefore like to reassure people who have been victims of fraudsters, who are increasingly becoming more and more sophisticated, that they’re not to blame and help is available if they would like advice.”