Do you want a guaranteed 60% return?

I've never before offered a 60% return, let alone a guaranteed one.

Hands wanting to grab red dollar sign on a hook, symbolising a scam.

Image source: Getty Images

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Today, I want to offer you a chance to make a guaranteed 60% return.

At least, apparently that's what I want to offer you.

Huh?

Yeah, it was a surprise to me, too. I've never before offered a 60% return, let alone a guaranteed one.

Why would I start doing it now?

Spoiler alert: I didn't, don't, and won't.

And yet, that's apparently what I'm doing… if you believe the social media scams I've seen around the place.

See, unfortunately, I have the dubious honour of having my face and name (and video) used by scammers to try to trick users into sending them money.

Which… sucks.

I'm not alone, by the way. David Koch has long been used in scams like this. So have other well-known celebrities.

The worst thing? I can't do a bloody thing about it. Yes, I report the ads when I see them. So does our team. But they're everywhere. And don't see all of them (very few, actually).

So while people are out there, pretending to be me, I can't stop it happening.

I can't stop people being scammed. I can't stop people losing money.

And while it's not my fault, there's something just awful about knowing it's my name and face that's being used to do it.

If there's one small ray of light, it's that the scammers have overdubbed my video with an accent that is… not mine.

But, given the surge of AI capacity, that small glitch won't be there for long. At some point in the not-too-distant future, the scam will be so good that even my own mother won't be able to tell the difference.

Yes, AI and social media are wonderful in so many ways. But they have serious drawbacks, including this one.

And while this one is very personal, as I said, I'm not the first, or even the highest profile (by a long way!) person to be used in this way – and I won't be the last.

Still, given the money at stake, and the fact that I do work for a financial services company, I wanted to put very clearly on the record that it's not me… and to beseech you to be extraordinarily careful.

Perhaps worse, many of the people who might get sucked in by this stuff won't actually read this piece. And I have no way of helping them.

Turns out AI can create some wonderful (and awful) things, but the world's social media giants don't seem to be able to use the technology to identify potential scams…

And no, this isn't my first rodeo – the other, longer-standing scam is where people use my name and copy my social media posts to a fake account, pretending to be me. That one's still going, too.

I wish there was more I could do about it. The best I can do is warn you. And ask you to warn others. And I can publish this, so that if anyone searches for more detail, they'll hopefully find this article.

Other than that? Well, I feel pretty helpless, knowing these bastards are going to get money from people who see my name and image and figure they can trust the scam.

So, to be clear:

I will never offer you a guaranteed return.

I'll never offer you anything so outlandish as a 60% return – guaranteed or otherwise.

I will never invite you to a private WhatsApp group.

I will never offer you bitcoin.

I will never DM you with a special offer or investment opportunity.

And you'll find me on Twitter and Instagram only at @TMFScottP, and Facebook only at /scottphillipsmoney.

The Motley Fool's Australian accounts are @themotleyfoolau and /themotleyfoolaustralia.

Can I also ask a small favour? If you see them, and you have some time, would you mind hitting the 'report' button on the scam posts when they pop up? It'll help us get them pulled down and minimise the chance that someone else gets scammed!

Lastly, as my old man used to say, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. And, as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to say in Hill Street Blues… let's be careful out there.

(If there's an investment take-away, it's probably that anything that looks too good to be true, probably is, too. Don't be cynical, but do be sceptical. Make sure you're getting your information from credible sources, and that you don't swallow everything you're being told. Trust, but verify. And diversify, just in case.)

Fool on!

Motley Fool contributor Scott Phillips has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Bitcoin. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Bitcoin. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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