Oprah posted a video and shared it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to warn her fans about fake social media accounts impersonating her. Some of the profiles promised a giveaway of $5,000 to the first 100,000 followers. According to BBC, they also claimed to be affiliated with OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s TV network and asked their followers to send money to Jamaica to cover taxes and fees.

Oprah responded by sending a message to her fans on Twitter.

Fraud warning from Oprah

“Hi everybody, I just wanted you to know that somebody out there is trying to scam you using my name and my avatar on social media asking for money if you sign up for an OWN account on Instagram,” she said in the video.

“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 posting as me or anyone else for that matter, and have a Merry Christmas!”

The OWN Television Network retweeted her video and updated all of their social media accounts by posting, “Please be aware that social media accounts promising money using OWN and/or Oprah Winfrey’s name are false. We have notified the social media platforms who are working diligently to deactivate these accounts."

Instagram has officially removed 100 fake accounts so far.

Too many fake accounts

BBC News reported that Oprah isn’t the only one being impersonated as a celebrity to scam followers for Christmas cash giveaways.

Director Tyler Perry and Boxer Floyd Mayweather are also victims as well.

The fake accounts convince the users to follow their pages and share the profiles with other friends in order to receive $5,000 as a gift. After the users follow the accounts, they receive a direct message in their inbox to send their e-mail address and financial information to receive their payments.

One of the accounts posted, “Money distribution has been slower than expected. For a quicker distribution, please send your CASH APP usernames to @OwnChistmas_direct messages.” It was a scam.

Cash App” is an application that allows anyone to transfer money easily from their phones.

Ways to prevent getting scammed on social media

  • Look for verification - A way to verify a celebrity’s social media profile is by looking for a blue checkmark next to the name. None of the fake accounts had that specific checkmark.
  • Report spam or suspicious activity - Every social media platform has an option to report suspicious activities, which can lead to that account being deactivated. This includes cyberbullying, also known as "trolling" and sexual or explicit content.
  • Never provide your financial information on social media - To prevent identity theft, this would obviously be the smart way to avoid scammers.