Influencers Embarrassingly EXPOSED Scamming People
Let's check out some influencers who were embarrassingly exposed scamming people!Entertainment
There are liars and con artists all over the Internet, but no one can misrepresent the truth quite like an influencer. Using social media to reach huge online audiences, the scams some influencers run on their supporters range from international money-laundering and crazy crypto deals to sneaky photoshop edits!
And, while not all of them are damaging, they are all misleading! Well, when confronted with a lie there’s only one thing to do; expose the truth! Let’s see how they dealt with the awkwardness, as we take a look at some social media influencers who were embarrassingly exposed trying to scam their followers!
DINK DOINK D**K
Have you heard of cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin and Ethereum? If not, how big is the rock you’ve been living under? Cryptocurrency is digital money, with transactions often designed to be both secure and totally anonymous. If you think that sounds a little shady, then you should know that just about anyone can get the technology to create or purchase cryptocurrency!
With physical money, there are loads of regulations on the market imposed by the banks, but cryptocurrency doesn’t pass through the banks, so all transactions are currently unregulated by financial watchdogs!
That means cryptocurrency is a kind of financial wild west, and would-be John Waynes jump in on the crypto game all the time with swanky new coins.
If they get popular, the share price will skyrocket and make you a billionaire but, if it loses appeal, the share price will collapse and send you into catastrophic bankruptcy!
Got that? Good. Keep it in mind as we turn our attention to internet personality and professional idiot, Logan Paul. Now, Logan is so renowned for causing controversy that, according to some polls, he’s become one of the most disliked influencers on the Internet!
In the world of YouTube, that’s translated to 5.8 billion views on his channel and more than 23 million subscribers. With an audience that large, it was only a matter of time before Logan got in on the crypto game!
In June 2021, Logan began promoting a new coin called Dink Doink – who featured him in some of their promotional assets. They claimed it was the next big thing in the crypto space, and Logan also talked big about it.
The promotion got his followers talking and, crucially, investing. And so, when it launched at the end of June, the share price for Dink Doink was high – not like bitcoin high, but pretty high, with around $1.2 million in initial investments. But then, something strange happened.
The developers, who are anonymous, sold all their Dink Doink coin off! This sent the coin’s valuation crashing down by 89% almost overnight, leaving a lot of angry investors wondering where their money had gone! This is a classic ‘pump and dump scheme.’
In short, the creators of Dink Doink, whoever they are, artificially inflated the coin’s value through Logan’s promotion of it, then took the money and ran! Even as I’m writing this article, the coin’s value has sunk to just 2.5% of the initial coin price and is continuing to decrease.
Was Logan Paul the mastermind behind Dink Doink or just an oblivious participant? More importantly, did he profit from the scheme? Well, the answer is, nobody knows. Remember, cryptocurrencies are near completely anonymous, so your guess is as good as mine.
Either way, the fact that Dink Doink is allegedly a hustle, and that Logan was so enthusiastic about promoting it, certainly raises eyebrows. If the worst is true, let’s just call Logan Paul what he is: a Dink Doink D**k!
RUNS IN THE FAMILY
After all that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jake Paul, the younger brother of Logan Paul who’s also an Internet star, has followed in his brother's footsteps! With an audience of over 20 million subscribers and 7 billion channel views on YouTube alone, it seems he’s decided to use his loyal audience for one thing: to sell NFT’s.
So, what’s an NFT? NFT stands for non-fungible token, which means a token that is not replaceable by another. These tokens – which could be anything but are usually pictures or drawings – can be bought with cryptocurrency, and waver in value similarly.
Even though any two NFTs can look identical, they actually all have different data patterns that make them unique. So, just to clarify they may look the same, but they’re not.
Now, back in early 2021 Jake was paid $178,000 in an undisclosed transaction via the cryptocurrency Ethereum. Around the same time, he sent out a tweet claiming he’d created his own crypto collectable as part of The League of Sacred Devils NFT project, boosting the projects overall value.
There was just one, huge issue, after he linked his NFT crypto wallet, everyone could see that Jake had received this huge amount of money. And when they traced it back, it appeared to have come from The League of Sacred Devils. He was accused of being paid to promote the otherwise worthless NFT’s without disclosing his tweet was actually an advert!
That sounds like a scam and Jake Paul wasn’t done there! Giving it the inauspicious name ‘Stick Dix’, Jake now shills his own NFTs to his mainly teenage audience. But hold your horses, because it’s too early to say whether this is a scam or not.
At first look, it seems about as shady as any NFT project on the Internet! That being said, considering Jake’s dubious history with the League of Sacred Devils, I won’t be trusting any member of the Paul family with my investments!
SCAM THE KIDS
Boasting over a billion total views on their channel, FaZeClan are undoubtedly one of the most famous esports organizations in the world. Its members dabble in Call of Duty, Fortnite, FIFA and the crypto market!
Back in June 2021, in a series of now-deleted tweets, members of the FaZeClan announced they would be ambassadors for a new charity coin token called Save the Kids. If you’ve heard of the charity Save the Children, they’re not related. Although, their logos do look suspiciously similar.
FaZeClan even went as far as to record a promotional video which they spread to their followers, claiming they’d be redistributing the crypto wealth to charities! But it was all a lie.
Just like Dink Doink, Save the Kids’ valuation was pumped up on the day of its launch, reaching a high of $0.0032 on June 12th with more than 7,700 token holders. They’d even raised $150,000 for charity in their first day! But by June 23rd, the FaZeClan had dumped the majority of their tokens, tanking the coin’s value to just $0.0012.
One investor even commented they were down 50% 2 minutes after investing at launch, making this scam look ridiculously obvious: Get FaZeClan followers to buy stock under the pretense that it’s all for charity, and then instantly sell that stock off and rake in the profit!
How much profit? Well, FaZe Kay alone sold a whopping $6.2 million worth of his tokens, with clan member – and notorious cheater – Faze Jarvis selling up to 2/3rds of his coins as well.
So, how did FaZeClan respond to allegations they had helped promote this scheme? By deleting their tweets of course! They’d promised to be ambassadors but, once the money rolled in, the project was abandoned. If FaZeClan had their way, it would be as if all this never happened!
Eventually, the members who promoted Save the Kids were forced to explain their actions. But rather than take responsibility themselves, they blamed it on their manager and fired him!
SCAM ON THE GRAM
While most guilty-looking YouTubers’ have done their upmost to cover any crypto-scam tracks they’ve left behind, not all influencer scams are that devious!
Once upon a time, Kayla Massa had around 300,000 followers on her Instagram account, @Kayg0ldi. Through this account, Kayla posted pictures of her glamorous lifestyle, along with stacks of cash, with captions claiming her followers could stand to make some serious money! However, this was just as shady as it seemed.
The money-hungry followers who messaged Kayla were then asked to send her their card information and bank account details. Now, if you know anything about internet scamming, this isn’t just a red flag; it’s an entire parade! And, while most people never responded, Kayla managed to get the personal details of 45 of her followers!
Kayla would then send bum cheques into their accounts and withdraw all the money before the bank realized. By the time the victims caught on, Kayla had blocked their profiles! This left those Kayla duped with overdrawn accounts and in debt with targeted companies. Not exactly the riches they’d been promised!
Through this scheme, Kayla made more than $1.5 million! And to make matters worse, many of the people who fell for the lie were just teenagers. Justice was eventually served when the US Postal Service noticed that more than 50 blank money orders had been stolen!
They then opened an investigation, leading them to CCTV footage of Kayla and her nine accomplices in a store linked to the fraudulent checks.
The last official report released stated all ten of them now face charges of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Well, it’s a long fall from Instagram to jail - I’m just glad this phish got caught!
When Joanna Olsson of Sweden began traveling the world and posting about her experiences on Instagram, she suddenly gained thousands of followers. The influencer lifestyle soon followed, with Joanna continuing to jet-set, she received numerous lucrative deals to promote branded products.
But after the influencer took a trip to Paris and put up a post sponsored by clothing outlet Pretty Little Thing; her followers began to ask questions. It appeared that some of the photos Joanna had posted from Paris didn’t look exactly genuine. In fact, they looked photoshopped!
Questions started to fly. Was Joanna lying about her trip to Paris? Had she ever even left Sweden? Was her lifestyle nothing more than a sham to get sponsorships from branded products?!?! As with all internet controversies, one question loomed over them all: how would Joanna respond???
She later explained that, while she had been to Paris, she disliked her snaps so much she photoshopped in a new background. She admitted that her photo editing skills left something to be desired, but insisted her global travel was not faked.
Maybe I’m being cynical, but it’s also possible that Joanna hated her outfit so much she wouldn’t be caught dead out in Paris with it on! Not exactly a great look for her, let alone for the sponsor!
Not everyone has a perfectly clean apartment all the time. That being said, there’s a big difference between a messy apartment and living in filth, as some social media followers were shocked to discover!
Introducing Lisa Li, an influencer based in China. Through her account, Lisa posted photos depicting her glamorous life traveling, partying and eating out at expensive restaurants. It looked like she led a perfect, pristine life!
Except, one person wasn’t fooled by this facade: Ms. Chen, Lisa’s landlord. After Lisa refused to answer her calls back in 2019, Ms. Chen recorded a guided tour of Lisa’s apartment. When she posted it online, Lisa’s followers were left gagging.
The video revealed that, despite Lisa’s glamorous exterior, her apartment was disgusting. The trash can was overflowing, rotten food was sprayed up the walls and parts of the floor were covered in dog excrement!
Even professional cleaners refused to touch the mess. As if the situation couldn’t get any worse, Ms. Chen also revealed Lisa owed thousands of yuan in unpaid bills! Quite the Wizard of Oz moment, isn’t it?
When Lisa resurfaced, she met with Ms. Chen personally and explained the dirty apartment was a consequence of her tight schedule and an alleged hospitalization the week before. The influencer was roundly mocked online, especially for a particularly humiliating snap of her cleaning up the dog poo!
Have you ever heard of a website called DouYu? If you haven’t, it’s the largest live-streaming service in China – a bit like Twitch, but with more than 163 million monthly users, over 20 million more than Twitch!
All this was fertile ground for a streamer known as Your Highness Qiao Biluo, who had more than 100,000 followers on DouYu. There, Your Highness presented herself as a glamorous, young woman, worshiped by a loyal audience who gave her more than $14,500 during the height of her popularity.
It was all going so well -- until, you guessed it, the façade came crashing down! Qiao’s popularity ground to a halt when, during a livestream in 2019, there was a fatal glitch.
The filter that Qiao Biluo had been using since her very first stream was removed, and the young star was exposed as a middle-aged woman!
Apparently, the seasoned streamer didn’t notice until viewers began to drop like flies from her VIP access room. While it was incredibly embarrassing for Qiao, there are over 425 million live streamers in China and the use of face filters is pretty common. Who knows which well-loved streamer will be accidentally exposed next?
To anyone following his account, it looked like Ramon Abbas had it all. Abbas used Instagram to flaunt his billionaire lifestyle through posts of him drinking wine in luxury Jacuzzis, preparing to board a private jet and surrounded by Gucci bags.
Going by the name Hushpuppi, Abbas was the influencer to end all influencers - a walking symbol of wealth! The only question was where all that wealth had come from. Abbas had started out as a second-hand clothes trader based in Lagos, Nigeria. After that, the details became sketchy. Surely something huge must have happened in the years between Abbas’ days in retail and his re-emergence as an online rich boy in 2012.
But what could it have been? By 2020, Abbas’s increasingly ostentatious posts had amassed him an impressive 2.4 million followers, and the FBI were now curious as to where the money was coming from.
And what they found was shocking. Abbas’ wealth had come from an international, $460 million cyberscam! He’d created fake websites for well-regarded companies in a bid to steal people’s credit card information. Then, Abbas laundered the stolen money through property investments, and used it to fund the billionaire lifestyle he flaunted online.
As more and more people bought into the idea Abbas was a billionaire, the scam only became easier. And when the FBI raided his apartment in 2020, they not only found almost $40 million in cash, but the email addresses of over 2 million victims!
Needless to say, Abbas wasn’t just embarrassed, he was looking at some serious jail time! Talk about turning Instagram into a full-blown Insta-Scam!
When 27-year-old influencer Oceane El Himer caught a flight from Dubai to Monaco, it was a great opportunity to get a snap for the gram! Going for a luxury image, Oceane’s account is filled with pics of her on yachts and drinking champagne.
With business class tickets from Dubai to Monaco costing almost $3,000, Oceane’s followers were impressed when she posted a pic of her settling down into a first-class seat. I mean, what kind of an influencer would be seen flying economy class with those normal people?
Well, as it turns out, Oceane herself! That’s right: having posted herself in business class, the influencer made her way to the back of the plane and took her seat in economy!
As the picture began to circulate, Oceane turned comments off under the original post. Then, she posted again claiming she had taken multiple flights that day, one of which was in economy.
While embarrassing, Oceane may have had the last laugh here. A couple of days later, she posted a picture sat with champagne in business class, with a caption assuring her followers that, this time, it was legitimate!
It’s not as though Oceane is the only phony flyer out there, either. Influencers such as Azra Mian, her sister Aisha Mian and Kennedy Cymone have all posted photos of themselves flying in private jets, which looked suspiciously similar.
And that’s because they are! What these influencers had been presenting as a private jet is actually a set in LA! A real private jet would cost up to 500 million dollars. But the set? Just $61 an hour!
It’s pretty surreal to think the luxury lifestyles you see online could be faked so blatantly, but I bet all influencers wish we’d just let that fly!
TALL TEAMI TALES
Think for a minute that a brand-new, game-changing medicine will be announced tomorrow. Scientists claim it’ll make you lose weight, fight cancer, clear clogged arteries, decrease migraines and even prevent colds and flus. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, what if promotional posts from Cardi B, Brittany Renner and Jordin Sparks supported those claims. Would you believe them then? Even if you wouldn’t, a lot of their avid followers probably would. So, if I revealed that none of those claims were true, they’d feel duped, right?
Well, it’s time to come clean. Those outlandish health claims weren’t made about a new medicine, but a detox tea made by a company known as Teami Blends. And – you guessed it – Cardi B and Brittany Renner were paid to promote their claims!
But no tea known to science can cure cancer or clear your arteries. To claim any differently isn’t just a mistake – it’s a criminal offense, literally!
So, in 2020, Teami Blends was fined a whopping $15.2 million by the Federal Trade Commission for making deceptive health claims! The truth-free tea-makers could only pay 1 of those millions because, after that, they were fresh out of money.
So, if Teami Blends have no health benefits, what impact do they have? Well, rather than unclog arteries, some report that Teami’s teas unclog the bowels instead!
Yep, users report that a nasty bout of diarrhea is all they’ve gotten from Teami Blends products! Oh, that sounds nasty. Best to steer clear then, if you want my advice!
STEVEWILLDO…ANYTHING FOR CASH!
Did you know cryptocurrencies have their own casinos too? They’re called cryptocasinos and, unlike real casinos, they’re kind of illegal. They’re technically neither illegal nor legal, operating out of an unregulated gray area.
That means, sometimes, cryptocasinos can be used as a front for nefarious get-rich-quick schemes! And where there’s a get-rich-quick scheme, influencers soon follow!
Cryptocasinos hire big influencers to promote their platforms, and then pay them a fee for every follower they get to sign up. Not only that but, these casinos can give their influencers a commission based on the odds of their fans losing.
So, influencers are making money by enticing their followers to gamble their money away! All this brings us to SteveWillDoIt, a famous YouTube prankster with over 4 million subscribers and an inexplicably lavish lifestyle.
When he wasn’t pranking on YouTube though, he could also be found on a second channel streaming his gambling habit on a crypto casino called Roobet.
However, other YouTubers started to notice a man lurking in the background of some of Steve’s videos. Referred to as “Alfonso”, it turns out this guy is a multi-millionaire who owns Roobet.
If he was in partnership with Steve - which would look really, really bad - he could have been the source of SteveWillDoIt’s riches. If that was the case, Alfonso – who, in his videos, Steve repeatedly calls Allen – would have been making tens of millions of dollars off of Steve’s followers!
And we’re not done yet! Alfonso’s real name is Allen Temiz, who used to be part of the online gambling scene surrounding the game CounterStrike: Global Offensive.
Under another alias, Aero1738, his gambling YouTube channel was shut down when the scene was exposed as a scam in 2016.
The channel used to pay Youtubers to promote the site with fake videos of them winning! After laying low for a few years, he seems to have resurfaced in 2021 with the exact same hustle!
After Steve’s connection to Allen was uncovered by YouTuber Coffeezilla, SteveWillDoIt took down the videos on his gambling channel related to Roobet gambling… which was all of them. It’s not exactly an admission of guilt, but it certainly looks like one!
Boasting 321k followers, Tupi Saravia from Argentina has one of the best travel accounts on Insta! If you check out her posts, you’ll see clear blue skies, white clouds and sunny days following Tupi wherever she goes. Isn’t it funny that the good weather loves influencers, as much as they love the good weather? Could it be too good to be true?
Cut to 2019, and controversy swirled around Tupi as the validity of her posts was suddenly called into question. Her eagle-eyed followers had noticed those blue skies and white clouds had been turning up everywhere she went.
Not just any blue sky and white cloud, either. But the same ones every time, no matter where she went. So, was Tupi photoshopping her photos? And if they were fake, what else was?
When Tupi responded, she didn’t see the big deal. In fairness to her, this kind of photo editing is routine on Instagram. It’s just unfortunate for Tupi that she got caught out!
Admittedly, Tupi’s mistakes aren’t quite as severe as some other influencer scams. At worst, the photos are just misleading. Still, it makes you think – what else might she have been faking for followers?
DAN BILZERIAN IN REAL LIFE DEBT
If you’ve seen the content posted online by Dan Bilzerian, you’ll know it depicts a life of the upmost luxury! Bilzerian is a poker player, businessman and influencer with more than 32 million followers on Instagram.
His lifestyle is a veritable smorgasbord of expensive flights, expensive hotels, expensive meals, and expensive clothes. Now, I bet you’re thinking this guy must be really good at business, or poker, or both.
But don’t be fooled, big bucks Dan here is actually a trust fund baby with millions of dollars in inheritance! Yep, that self-made man image is a sham. But to be fair, that’s not the only source of the Bilzerian bucks!
He’s also the owner of a company called Ignite. Selling branded products, Ignite began 2018 reporting total assets of $15.1 million but, by the end of the second quarter, that number had drastically reduced to just $5.8 million. That means, over the course of 6 months, Ignite burnt through $9 million - that’s over $1.5 million a month!
And according to reports, most of it – unsurprisingly - comes down to Dan. His monthly rent of $200,000, along with all the parties, boats and models he boasts on his insta were allegedly charged to the company credit card! In case you didn’t know, treating company money like your own personal piggy bank is illegal, and soon claims of fraud ensnared Bilzerian.
Is he guilty? Your guess is as good as mine. What I will say is that the man who left Bilzerian that trust fund – his father, Paul Bilzerian – was a notorious fraudster himself, so maybe Dan’s just a chip off the old block.