Watch out for online scams

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Image by
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 2 July 2019

The internet can be a wonderful place for sharing, engaging and learning. But it can also be a dangerous place if you don’t use it safely and carefully – especially as online scams are on the rise. We are very concerned that more and more people are being scammed by fraudsters impersonating me. Scammers often send private messages over social media or email pretending to be me or my senior team. They also use my name and photo to falsely endorse get-rich-quick schemes.

Followers who post on my social media feeds are being specifically targeted in private channels by people impersonating yours truly or my senior team. These scammers then attempt to extract personal information and cash from them and can be quite convincing. One particular scam circulating at the moment sees individuals posting on my social media contacted by a scammer posing as my PA. They are invited to become a member of “Virgin Group Worldwide” to receive financial assistance, and are then required to complete a form with lots of personal details and pay an admin fee. If you see this scam, please report it.

My official social media accounts are all verified and, to be clear, I do not send direct or private messages to my followers and do not send personal messages regarding investments, charity donations or speaking engagements  from these accounts or any others. If you are contacted by somebody on social media pretending to be me or one of my senior team please save the details and report it here. You can see my real posts and responses on all of my verified, official accounts on, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Quartz.

Stories linking me to get-rich-quick opportunities such as binary trading and cryptocurrency schemes often appear on websites via links advertised on various social media sites and paid for ads. These are fake news stories. I do not promote get-rich-quick schemes. If you see one of these stories or adverts please save the details and report it here.

Picture of Richard Branson looking serious/contenplating
Image from Molly Choma

Our team are doing all they can to report scammers and get fake sites taken down as soon as possible. We have dealt with hundreds and hundreds of instances and tackle more every week, working with our partners, reporting major operations to the police and urging social networks to do more to stop the scams.

The team has created an animated guide to help you spot an online scam before it's too late.

But, sadly, the scams are not going to disappear overnight. Please remain vigilant and check for official website addresses and verified social media accounts. Here are my official channels:

- blog

- Facebook

- Twitter

- Instagram

- LinkedIn

To find out more about scams and to report fraud in the UK go to Action Fraud.