Talk show host Oprah Winfrey says that her fans should not fall for a financial “fraud” circulating online that uses her name.
“Hi everybody, I just wanted you to know that somebody out there is trying to scam you, using my name and avatar on social media, asking for money if you sign up for an OWN account on Instagram,” she said in a video Thursday, referencing her television channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network.
“It’s a fraud, it’s a fraud, it’s a fraud,” Winfrey continued in the clip, which was posted on her official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
“Don’t believe it. Don’t give up any of your bank accounts or personal information to anybody posing as me, or anyone else, for that matter. And, have a merry Christmas.”
Winfrey’s warning follows a statement from OWN on Wednesday urging people to exercise caution about social media posts about her or her network.
“Please be aware that social media accounts promising money using OWN and/or Oprah Winfrey’s name are false,” the company said.
“We have notified the social media platforms who are working diligently to deactivate these accounts.”
The BBC on Friday reported that Winfrey is one of several celebrities whose name has been used for monetary scam on Instagram.
The accounts press users to “follow page” and “share with friends” in order to receive Christmas cash giveaways of up to $5,000.
Users who follow the accounts are then urged to privately send personal information, including email addresses and financial details, to the account owners.
The handles are fake, however, meaning users hoping to receive the generous gifts will instead get nothing.
“Money distribution has been slower than expected,” a post from a recently shuttered fake Winfrey account said. “For a quicker distribution please send your CASH APP usernames to @OwnChristmas_direct messages.”
Thousands of users are seemingly following the accounts, some of which have even posted messages saying the private communications are for people’s individual security.
The BBC on Friday reported that besides Winfrey, director Tyler Perry and professional boxer Floyd Mayweather have also been linked to the fraudulent scheme.