A new giveaway scam making rounds on social media is using fake deepfake videos and ads of popstar Selena Gomez to promote free Le Creuset cookware sets. The convincing sponsored posts claim Selena is generously giving away thousands of dollars worth of Le Creuset products to fans absolutely free. However, the entire promotion is an elaborate ruse aimed at stealing users’ money through concealed subscription fees.
This article provides an in-depth examination of how the Selena Gomez Le Creuset Giveaway scam works, the manipulation tactics used, who’s behind it, and most vitally, how to protect yourself online. With advanced deepfake technology making celebrity endorsement scams more prevalent, it’s crucial to be an informed consumer. Keep reading to ensure you don’t get tricked by this fraudulent social media scam.
This Article Contains:
Overview of the Selena Gomez Le Creuset Giveaway Scam
The Selena Gomez Le Creuset giveaway scam is being heavily promoted across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube using targeted sponsored ads and posts. These ads leverage realistic-looking deepfake AI video footage of Selena Gomez announcing an urgent giveaway of free Le Creuset cookware sets to her loyal fans.
The convincing deepfake videos show Selena stating that due to a warehouse packing mistake, she has thousands of surplus Le Creuset sets to offload, so she’s giving them away for free to supporters if they act fast. The high-quality AI replication of Selena’s face, voice, and speech patterns make the videos appear very authentic and lure social media users into believing the popstar is genuinely endorsing a free cookware giveaway.
When users click on these enticing social media ads for the free Le Creuset set giveaway, they are redirected to elaborate fake news articles hosted on fraudulent domains posing as trusted mainstream news sites like Fox News, CNN, NBC, and even niche sites like Food Network Magazine.
The deception continues on these fake news sites featuring stolen logos and branding from legitimate networks. The articles reinforce the charade with claims that the giveaway is 100% real and made possible because Selena Gomez wants to urgently award free Le Creuset cookware sets to fans rather than letting excess inventory go to waste.
The fake news articles attribute convincing quotes to Selena herself expressing great excitement for music fans to receive free Le Creuset products thanks to the special exclusivity of the warehouse surplus giveaway. Of course, all quotes are completely fabricated for the sake of the scam.
Near the bottom of the page, the fake articles emphasize interested readers can claim their free Le Creuset cookware set by paying just a small $9.95 or $9.96 shipping and processing fee to cover transportation costs. This is where the scam truly begins.
Users who click the prominent “Claim My Offer” or “Claim Free Cookware Set” buttons featured throughout the fake articles are sent to shady third-party websites to enter payment and personal information. These external sites have no affiliation with Selena Gomez or Le Creuset whatsoever.
Their domains often have vague names like “OnlineProductPromotions”, “LimitedTimeOffers”, or “FreebieWeekly” to continue tricking users that they are part of the legitimate giveaway offer. Stock photos of Le Creuset cookware are used alongside urgent messaging about limited supply remaining.
At this point, victims of the scam must provide sensitive personal and financial information including full name, physical address, email address, phone number, and credit card details. The form reiterates that this is solely to cover the $9.95 shipping and processing costs.
An additional checkbox even states “I understand the ONE TIME shipping fee of $9.95 to receive my free product.” In reality, this payment data is used to enroll users in an expensive monthly subscription they are completely unaware of.
Once victims input their information and submit the $9.95 payment, their credit card is automatically signed up for recurring subscription fees of around $89.95 that will continue indefinitely every month. But the monthly charges are intentionally omitted and disguised by the scam until after users provide their data.
Within 3-5 days of victims submitting their information and making the “shipping” payment, the first $89.95 subscription fee is withdrawn from their account. This is wholly unrelated to the $9.95 upfront cost users paid under the impression it was just for package handling.
The shady third-party websites operate this subscription grift using the credit card details entered by victims when signing up for the purported free cookware deal. The excessive unauthorized monthly $89.95 charges continue being taken from victims’ accounts monthly until they eventually notice what’s happening.
Of course, victims of the scam never end up receiving any free Le Creuset products, cookbooks, or anything else they were promised. The entire premise of the warehouse surplus giveaway is fake and no such association exists between Selena Gomez and the brand.
The solely purpose is deceiving social media users into relinquishing their personal and financial information under false pretenses, and leveraging that data to unknowingly register them for costly monthly subscriptions without consent.
The elaborate scam is able to convince unsuspecting social media users by employing a range of deceptive tactics, including:
- Highly realistic deepfake AI video and audio of Selena Gomez announcing the fake giveaway promotion, which tricks users into believing it’s endorsed by her.
- Fake advertisements and sponsored posts promoting the giveaway that are made to look like legitimate social media marketing.
- Fake news websites impersonating real mainstream news networks with matching branding, logos, and graphics.
- Articles populated with fake quotes attributed to Selena expressing excitement around fans receiving free products.
- Prominent calls-to-action inviting readers to claim their free set for just a small $9.95 shipping payment.
- External domains posing as part of the promotion to harvest user personal and financial data.
- Fine print and checkboxes concealing that users are actually being registered for costly monthly subscriptions when submitting payment info rather than a one-time shipping fee.
- Omission of any mention regarding monthly recurring charges, terms & conditions, or notification of users’ credit cards being used for ongoing billing.
- Lack of any way to cancel, manage, or stop the unwanted subscription charges being applied due to the third-party nature of the shady websites.
Without proper scrutiny, the multiple moving parts of this scam combine seamlessly to deceive users through every stage as they get lured in by the perceived celebrity endorsement, urgency surrounding limited free products, and appeal of only needing to cover a small shipping payment.
In actuality, Selena Gomez has no knowledge of or participation in any such giveaway promotion. Her likeness is being used entirely without consent through deepfake AI technology as part of the elaborate ruse.
Sadly, this scam preys on the trusting nature of Selena Gomez fans and social media users excited by the prospect of scoring expensive Le Creuset cookware totally free. But in reality, victims are signing themselves up to be unwittingly billed monthly subscription fees through by providing their personal and payment data under false pretenses.
The sophisticated scam is able to maintain the charade using the following unethical tactics:
- Refusal to provide any working way to cancel, modify, or stop the unauthorized recurring charges from being applied.
- Deceptive cancellation and customer service contacts that offer no actual way to halt the subscription billing.
- Claiming the monthly fees were always part of agreed upon terms and conditions, banking on most people not reading the dense fine print before signing up.
- Citing that the monthly billing is for additional free trial offers, products, or services users had access to after providing their information.
- Insisting users violated terms by disputing the fees and threatening punitive legal action or penalties for going against the “agreement”.
- Placing crying victims on endless hold times before disconnecting the call to avoid addressing the fraudulent charges.
- Outright refusal to issue any refunds or reimbursement for the unauthorized subscription fees deducted on a monthly basis from victims’ accounts.
So in summary, this scam leverages social media ads featuring deepfake videos of Selena Gomez, fake news articles, and urgent limited-time promotion tactics to convince users to provide their personal and financial information under the false belief they will receive free Le Creuset cookware. In reality, they are being signed up for costly monthly subscription plans without consent, operated by shady third-party websites.
These sites continue charging victims’ credit cards exorbitant recurring fees while stonewalling any attempt to cancel the unwanted subscriptions or attain refunds. The scam relies on exploiting the goodwill and fandom of Selena Gomez to lure innocent users into relinquishing sensitive data that allows scammers to unlawfully extract money on an ongoing basis.
Detailed Breakdown of the Scam Process
To fully understand this widespread scam and identify red flags, here is a more in-depth walkthrough of the step-by-step process:
Step 1 – Fake Social Media Ads
The scam begins with sponsored video ads run on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and more. The videos appear to show Selena Gomez casually speaking directly to the camera/audience.
Thanks to deepfake AI technology, the videos match Selena’s face, voice, speech patterns, and mannerisms almost flawlessly. There are no visible or audible signs exposing them as counterfeit.
In the faked videos, Selena explains she has “thousands of surplus sets” left over from a recent Le Creuset photoshoot collaboration. Rather than letting the expensive cookware go to waste, she’s offering it to fans for free on a first come, first served basis.
This fabricated urgency and exclusivity pressures viewers into immediately clicking through to claim their “free” cookware sets.
Step 2 – Fake News Websites
When users click on the promo ads, they are redirected to pseudo news articles made to appear as if published on real sites like Buzzfeed, People, MSN and more. But the lookalike sites are complete scams.
While designed to look convincing at first glance, some red flags include:
- Incorrect web URLs (ex. Pe0ple.com vs People.com)
- Amateur site design, sloppy text, grammatical errors, and suspicious stock photos
- Missing contact pages, broken links, limited navigation menus and options
- No legitimate journalist names or sources linked
Still, the sites fool hurried users into believing the false Selena endorsement and urgent giveaway promotion.
The bogus articles reinforce the premise of excess Le Creuset inventory from a photoshoot prompting the special giveaway opportunity. They feature fake quotes from Selena expressing excitement for fans to obtain expensive cookware thanks to this exclusive chance.
The articles emphasize readers must hurry to claim sets before the limited supply runs out. This sense of urgency aims to get users handing over payment info without scrutiny.
Near the bottom, readers are prompted to click “Claim Yours Now!” and cover only a small $10 shipping and handling fee to receive the free Le Creuset items. In truth, this activates unwanted recurring subscription fees.
Step 3 – Submit Personal and Payment Information
When users click the “Claim Yours Now!” buttons eager to score pricey free Le Creuset sets, they are redirected to an online order form on a dubious third-party website completely unaffiliated with Selena or Le Creuset.
These sites have vague names like “OnlineProductPromos”, “LimitedTimeOffersZone” or “MegaDealsHub”. They continue the scam by using Le Creuset branding and faked urgency about limited supply.
To complete their fake “free” order, users must provide personal details like full name, address, email, and phone number. They then must enter credit card information so the $10 shipping costs can be processed.
Nowhere does it reveal this payment data will trigger recurring subscription charges. That critical detail is intentionally omitted until after users submit their information.
Step 4 – Monthly Subscription Charges Begin
Within 3-5 days of providing payment details, victims will experience the first fraudulent subscription withdrawal from their account, usually for excessive amounts like $89.95 or $99.95.
These overpriced monthly fees continue indefinitely until identified and cancelled by users. Of course, victims never receive any free Le Creuset products as originally promised.
Step 5 – Fake Customer Service if You Complain
When defrauded users eventually notice the unauthorized activity on their accounts and contact customer service to complain, they experience pushback and deception. The fraudsters insist monthly fees were clearly agreed to in initial fine print terms.
Their shady tactics include:
- Claiming the monthly fee is for unused free trial offers on other sites users joined.
- Outright refusing refunds and threatening legal action for “violating” terms.
- Placing angry victims on endless holds before disconnecting the call to avoid resolving the issue.
Almost no users can get money back once scammed by one of these celebrity endorsement giveaways. The systems are built to prevent refunds at every stage.
Recognizing Red Flags of the Scam
Now that you understand the step-by-step workings of the Selena Gomez Le Creuset giveaway scam, here are key red flags to recognize as potential signs of a scam:
- Too good to be true – Free gifts of brand new expensive merchandise should always arouse suspicion, not excitement. Real freebies aren’t hundred-dollar cookware sets.
- Aggressive sales tactics – Pressure to act fast stemming from invented time limits or exclusivity is a common scam tactic. Proceed cautiously when urged to act now.
- Poor quality websites – Fake promotion and news pages have obvious signs like bad grammar, strange URLs, and limited menus or contact info. Legitimate organizations invest in quality design.
- Celebrity endorsements – It’s highly suspicious for celebrities to endorse random free giveaways on social media ads. Legit partnerships are announced officially on real websites and social profiles.
- Requests for unnecessary details – Why would a basic shipping offer need your SSN or online banking passwords? Only scammers ask for more info than reasonably required.
- Hard-to-find terms and conditions – If an offer is free and being endorsed publicly, terms governing charges will be stated clearly. Scams bury dubious recurring fees deep in fine print intentionally.
View giveaways skeptically, especially those with celebrities urging you to act fast for an exclusive deal. Verify legitimacy on real brand sites before providing personal or payment data.
What to Do if You Fell Victim to the Scam
If you entered any sensitive information or payment details in relation to a free Selena Gomez Le Creuset promotion, here are the steps to take right away in attempting to get the situation resolved:
Step 1: Contact Your Bank
Contact your credit card provider or bank immediately to report being scammed into an unwanted recurring subscription. Ask them to block any future associated charges. See if any fraudulent fees can be reversed or refunded depending on when entered. Timeliness increases the chance of recovering lost funds. Provide transaction dates and merchant details.
Step 2: Cancel Any Accounts Created
If you created user accounts on any sketchy websites related to the giveaway offer, login and permanently delete or deactivate them. This removes stored payment data from their records, preventing continued billing. Also unsubscribe from any emails you signed up for by using opt-out links.
Step 3: Change Exposed Passwords
Change any passwords you used on the fake promotion sites ASAP if reused elsewhere. Scammers exploit password reuse to access more of your accounts. Enable two-factor authentication for additional security on sensitive logins.
Step 4: Watch for Other Suspicious Charges
Carefully monitor bank statements, credit reports, and all connected accounts over the next few months for any other unusual or bogus charges. Scammers frequently trade and sell stolen personal information online which can lead to additional fraud down the line. Report any dubious activities immediately.
Step 5: Report the Scam
To expedite getting scam sites shut down faster, file details of your experience with:
- Federal Trade Commission
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- FBI Anti-Fraud Division
- Social Networks the ads appeared on
- Le Creuset’s Brand Security team
- Local Police Fraud Department
Reporting scams reduces their reach, preventing more victims.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Selena Gomez Le Creuset Giveaway Scam
What is the Selena Gomez Le Creuset giveaway scam?
This scam promotes fake giveaways of free Le Creuset cookware sets endorsed by Selena Gomez. It uses deepfake AI video of Selena announcing the promotion. Users who provide information are signed up for hidden monthly subscription fees without consent.
How are they faking Selena Gomez’s endorsement?
Scammers use deepfake technology to create realistic videos of Selena promoting the giveaway. The AI matches her voice, mannerisms, and facial expressions so users believe it’s a real endorsement.
What platforms is the scam promoted on?
The scam surfaces through sponsored ads and posts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and other social platforms. Links redirect to fake news websites also promoting the false giveaway.
What costs do victims really incur?
Victims who provide info and pay a $9.95 “shipping fee” are actually enrolled in a monthly subscription costing $89.95+ that recurrs indefinitely until cancelled. No free products are ever shipped.
What should I do if I was scammed?
Immediately call your bank to dispute the charges, cancel any related accounts you created, monitor statements for further fraud, change exposed passwords, and report details to the FTC. Act quickly to limit damage.
What are red flags of this Selena Gomez scam?
Watch for too good to be true offers, urgent limited time claims, poor quality fake websites, requests for unnecessary personal information, and undisclosed terms and conditions.
How can I avoid celebrity endorsement scams?
Don’t fall for sensational free giveaways from celebrities promoted through social media ads and sketchy websites. Verify legitimacy on real brand sites before providing your information.
Where should I report celebrity endorsement scams?
Report fake Selena Gomez promotions to social media platforms, Le Creuset security teams, the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, and your local consumer protection agencies.
Is Selena Gomez affiliated with this scam?
No, Selena’s likeness is being used completely without her consent. Scammers use celebrities without permission to trick fans into providing personal data that lets them steal money.
The Bottom Line on Avoiding the Scam
The Selena Gomez Le Creuset giveaway scam capitalizes on urgent limited-time offers, fake celebrity endorsements, and deceitful fine print to force victims into costly monthly subscriptions. But armed with the right information, you can identify the multiple red flags and protect yourself online.
Here are key takeaways to remember moving forward:
- Celebrities are not spontaneously giving away $400 cookware sets – it’s always a scam.
- Fake websites, reviews, and urgency tactics manipulate users – take your time.
- Small upfront fees turn into expensive recurring charges – read all terms closely.
- Legitimate brands announce partnerships on official channels – not random ads and articles.
- Report scam attempts and monitor statements carefully for fraud – be proactive.
Stay skeptical of free trial offers requiring payment info, celebrity endorsements on social media ads, and high-pressure sales tactics. If something seems suspicious, trust your instincts and investigate further before providing any personal or financial information.
Being a smart digital consumer is the best defense. Share this guide to help others avoid celebrity product giveaway scams!