By most estimates, New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen is worth upwards of $500 million. So if someone purporting to be the Boss reaches out to you on social media asking for cash, don't be fooled.
CBS Chicago reports that this week, an area woman was defrauded out of more than $10,000 after falling victim to a scammer who pretended to be Springsteen on social media. Identified only as "Mary" by the station, the woman says she sent money to the scammer via iTunes gift cards, MoneyGram and Western Union wire transfers, and a cashier's check sent to a person in Dubai.
The scam, Mary told CBS Chicago, started on a Facebook fanpage for Springsteen, when someone claiming to be the Boss messaged her out of the blue. Communication lasted for about a year before the tone turned "flirty," Mary said, with the impersonator claiming he was getting a divorce from his wife.
The Springsteen scammer told Mary that his wife tied up his bank accounts as a result of the divorce, and that he was in need of some cash. Mary said she sent over several hundred dollars via iTunes gift cards, which apparently wasn't enough for the Springsteen impersonator.
The next request was for $11,500, which "Springsteen" said he needed to ship home a stash of gold worth millions of dollars from Dubai. Mary obliged, sending the amount for MoneyGram, Western Union, and a cashier's check.
"My mind was just so, so, like, maybe brainwashed or something," Mary told CBS Chicago. "I said, 'Okay how much money?'"
As the Federal Trade Commission told the station, these types of impostor scams are actually somewhat common, with more than 350,000 complaints worth $328 million filed last year. Those numbers made impostor scams the top fraud issue for the FTC in 2017, spokesperson Todd Kossow said.
CBS Chicago, in fact, also spoke with Ardiss Robbins, 78, who said she recently lost about $10,000 to a person posing online as country star Kenny Chesney. Police told the station the money actually went to someone in China.