Since stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have had to pursue other means of employment to uphold their standards of living. However, some scammers have been using their image to promote a new cryptocurrency venture, which the Sussexes had decidedly not invested in. The Daily Mail reports that the couple has been used in social media campaigns with fake interviews and quotes to promote "schemes related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading."
The scam used fake headlines like "People earning millions from home by using Harry and Meghan latest advice" and "Harry and Meghan shocked everyone in the studio by revealing how they making (sic) an extra £128k every month" to get eyes on the scheme. The scam also used logos from the Mail, the BBC, the Sun, Good Morning Britain, and the Guardian to project legitimacy, and also used the likenesses of and fake promotions from Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson, and Mark Zuckerberg to sell the get-rich-quick scheme.
According to the fraudulent articles, the royal couple backed Bitcoin schemes In an attempt to make money. According to the Financial Conduct Authority, online fraud Is massively on the rise. There were more than 34,000 reports about potential scam investment opportunities, while there had been only 8,000 in 2016. The FCA reported that from April 2020 to March 2021, there were at least 500 investment frauds that used fake celebrity endorsements and the resulting financial losses were over £10million.
"People should be very wary when they see investment ads offering high returns, even if they appear to be endorsed by celebrities," an FCA spokesperson told the Mail Online. "You can check if a company is regulated by us on the Financial Services register. If it isn't, you are very unlikely to have any protection if things go wrong. Where potential scam activity takes place outside of our remit, we will involve other law enforcement agencies who may be able to take further action."
According to Citizens Advice director of policy Matthew Upton, the "consequences can be truly devastating" to people who have been taken advantage of financially. "These schemes are becoming ever-more sophisticated and can leave people feeling incredibly vulnerable and isolated – to the point where they can't even tell their family and friends what has happened," he told the BBC.