/ Scams

CBD gummy ‘endorsements’ are nothing to do with Andy Murray – ignore them

Andy Murray isn’t endorsing CBD gummies – if you’ve seen his image next to an advert for them ignore or report it. Here’s how we helped a victim get her money back.

Fake celebrity endorsements remain a popular method of drawing people into scams and fake products online – a familiar famous face placed in an ad can draw the eye and install an element of trust.

Fraudsters know this and use it to their advantage, impersonating a host of celebrities online with alarming regularity. Just last month, Martin Lewis wrote to the Prime Minister alongside ‘a raft of other household names’ whose faces are being misused in scam ads.

When we warned about CBD oil scams using Deborah Meaden’s image to lure victims in August, we noticed a number of people in the comments and on social media telling us that they’d spotted British tennis legend Andy Murray’s name being used in the same way. One victim had been conned out of more than £200.

I decided to let Andy Murray know it was happening. He said:

“Thanks to Which? for campaigning on this issue, online fraud seems to be growing in sophistication and it’s important people are made aware. I work with select partners and they can be found on my website and through my official social media channels. Anything else should be ignored, better still, reported.”

Adverts for CBD gummies using Andy Murray’s name are fake. Websites selling these products using his name and/or image can be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre. Phishing attempts (such as emails pointing to scam sites) can be forwarded to:

report@phishing.gov.uk

More than £200 refunded

On 23 August, just a day before we published our CBD oil scam warning here on Which? Conversation, Jane (not her real name) tweeted Andy Murray asking if he was aware his name was being used to promote CBD products. Jane had just lost more than £200 after believing the endorsement from the three-time grand slam winner in a social media advert was genuine.

Jane had placed an order for £29.99 on her Sainsbury’s Bank credit card but was alarmed to see a sudden additional payment of nearly £200 for further products. She informed the bank of the error but the transactions still went through.

She was told that she’d need to contact the seller directly for a refund before a fraud claim could be started. Conversations with the company behind the ad rather predictably took her round in circles.

We spoke to Sainsbury’s Bank on Jane’s behalf and explained that continued engagement by the victim with a company utilising a fake celebrity endorsement was unwise. While Jane accepted that she’d made the initial £29.99 payment herself, the additional £200 was unauthorised and should be refunded.

The bank investigated and eventually refunded Jane for both transactions. She was also offered £50 as a goodwill gesture due to the process initially being delayed. Jane refused the compensation, telling us she was happy with the outcome. Sainsbury’s Bank said:

“Protecting customers is our priority and we’ve been in touch with [Jane] to help, we blocked her original credit card to avoid further unauthorised transactions, refunded the disputed transactions and issued a replacement card.”

Have you spotted fake celebrity endorsements?

We know from Martin Lewis’s efforts to raise awareness, the comments here on Which? Conversation and the victims who have contacted Which? recently that fake celebrity endorsements remain a big problem.

To prevent more people from falling for fake ads we’d like to see your screenshots of them so we can continue to provide warnings via our scam alert service. To do this, attach the image to an email and send it to conversation.comments@which.co.uk

You can also make us aware via our scams sharer tool.

Remember, if you do think you’ve been the victim of a scam ad/website, let your bank know what’s happened as soon as possible.

Guide: how to spot a scam

Guide: how to get your money back after a scam

Have you seen fake celebrity endorsements in adverts on social media or elsewhere? Let us know in the comments.


Comments

When you have “Celebrities” like Philip Schofield endorsing products that do not meet the claims they make, we have a problem! Personally, I do not give any credence to a celebrity endorsement whether it be commercial or political. Celebrities should be banned from making any such endorsements!

Difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff as it were so as a general rule of thumb, best ignore all these endorsements whatever they are for. You would think the celebrities would not want anything to do with them but I guess it is the lure of the money. Sad really.

Ian — In most cases the celebrities have no idea that their name or image is being used as part of a fraudulent sales vehicle on social media. It is unlikely that they are profiting from it in any way and could be having to spend time and money trying to take action against it. We might think that just goes with the territory but they don’t deserve it and it doesn’t do their reputation any good.

On another possible scam Can some insurance compare sites be suspect since they request details like date of birth driving licence number etc which could be used for fraud

You have to provide these to all insurers, as far as I know, if you wish to get a quotation.

I don’t believe that a motor insurer would ask for a driving licence number. I would expect to give: Name and address, date of birth, marital status, employer, details of past claims and convictions for each driver to be covered, vehicle details and so on. For someone taking out insurance for the first time it would be worth finding out what information is necessary.

It’s so important to go the genuine website rather than follow a link in an email or text message.

”I don’t believe that a motor insurer would ask for a driving licence number.https://conversation.which.co.uk/scams/fake-andy-murray-cbd-gummies-endorsement/#comment-1642538
I recently changed my car insurer and the application asked for my driving licence number. It may not be mandatory for all companies but it does allow your driving record to be verified. ”When you look for car insurance quotes it’s not mandatory to give your driving licence number. However, a service known as MyLicence, developed by the DVLA and MIB, lets insurers use your licence number to see your driving records and information automatically.17 Jan 2020” .

From the introduction:

Jane had placed an order for £29.99 on her Sainsbury’s Bank credit card but was alarmed to see a sudden additional payment of nearly £200 for further products. She informed the bank of the error but the transactions still went through.

She was told that she’d need to contact the seller directly for a refund before a fraud claim could be started. Conversations with the company behind the ad rather predictably took her round in circles.

If there was a possibility of fraud rather than a simple mistake, asking Jane to sort out the problem with the vendor was very poor advice, as Which? has pointed out. Jane deserves respect for declining compensation and being content with recovery of her money.

Which? used to do undercover investigations on the quality of car and boiler servicing, and investigate the knowledge of retailers’ knowledge of consumer rights. Maybe it would be useful to look at banks and card providers.

I agree. It is not a paradox that while the number of financial outlets has reduced dramatically the quality of the advice and protection provided has declined even more; it is evidence of cause and effect.

A modicum of credit is also due to Sainsbury’s Bank in Jane’s case for recognising its errors [with a compensation offer] and for administering a full refund, but would it have done so without Which?’s intervention? And would any of the major banks have done any better?

I think Sainsbury’s appear to have behaved well in this and we should not assume they only did so because of intervention. from Which? You could ask whether Jane was wise to buy something because a celebrity appeared to endorse it ( did she not ask whether CBD was necessary for her?) and whether she checked whether the source she payed had any credentials.

It could be suggested social media should be penalised when they allow fake adverts ( let’s hope the proposed bill is effective. It could also be suggested credit card facilities are granted more carefully. And that consumers exercise more care with what they buy and where from.

malcolm r says: Today 15:20

I think Sainsbury’s appear to have behaved well in this and we should not assume they only did so because of intervention from Which?

I don’t agree, which some may feel will come as no surprise.
But Sainsbury’s did not act well, as banks they’re used to lies
And should have acted faster when of facts they were apprized.
They clearly felt the risk was bad, made their idea unwise.

You could ask whether Jane was wise to buy something because a celebrity appeared to endorse it And that consumers exercise more care with what they buy and where from.

False famous faces selling things implies a certain trust,
And those who lives their lives in trusting folks should not go bust.
If we were flawless, prescient and really bright to boot,
There’d be no need for Which?. but that point’s really sort of moot.

Indeed. As I read it, they just advised Jane to contact the seller and it seems that the action taken was after Which? became involved. Where is there evidence that Sainsbury’s Bank behaved well? I hope that if I have a problem my bank will take appropriate action such as cancelling my card and investigating the problem without me first having to contact Which? or another organisation for advice.

I also said ”It could be suggested social media should be penalised when they allow fake adverts (let’s hope the proposed bill is effective). It could also be suggested credit card facilities are granted more carefully. And that consumers exercise more care with what they buy and where from.

It is worth referencing a whole comment rather than being selective in quoting when there is other relevant comment that adds to the view. That can be done by right-clicking on the date and copy the comment link URL thus https://conversation.which.co.uk/scams/fake-andy-murray-cbd-gummies-endorsement/#comment-1642567

And the intro says ”She was told (by Sainsburys’ Bank) that she’d need to contact the seller directly for a refund before a fraud claim could be started.”. That seems quite reasonable advice before the card provider intervened. Sainsburys’ may or may not have behaved well after that but some assume they didn’t.

The proposed bill will hopefully help in future but is irrelevant to Jane’s problem.

The only time an unauthorised payment was taken from my account I contacted my bank and the money was refunded promptly. Is there any evidence that Jane had authorised the second payment?

As the intro ends ”Have you seen fake celebrity endorsements in adverts on social media or elsewhere? ” The relevance of the Online Harms Bill is that it will maybe extend to cover this, as I said above. Jane’s experience was one example in what seems to be a wider problem.

Was also scammed by CBJ gummies celebrity in advert was Esther Ransen and Judi Dench managed to get refund after a lot of phone calls. CBJ wouldn’t cancel order even though it was only 5 minutes since £200 taken instead of £29.99. I had to wait arrival of gummies and return them at my own expense. I also used Sainsbury’s credit card who said couldn’t stop payment but would log fraud and if retailer didn’t refund would take matter up. Have also reported them to Facebook.