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Scammers pretending to be Denzel Washington or Hugh Jackman target women in Malaga

Scammers pretending to be Denzel Washington or Hugh Jackman target women in Malaga

There have been three cases in the province where the victims handed over between 22,000 and 35,000 euros

Juan Cano

Malaga

Monday, 4 December 2023, 11:53

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Scammers pretending to be actors or friends of stars such as Denzel Washington and Hugh Jackman are targeting women and demanding they hand over cash to help out with their charity work.

Police issued a warning following three cases in Malaga province where the victims sent a total of 75,000 euros to people they believed belonged to the charities of celebrities. They were sent Facebook or Instagram friend requests by scammers who convinced them they were friends of Denzel Washington, Hugh Jackman and Sam Heughan. The victims thought they had struck up a friendship with them, and were asked to pay 75,000 to help the social work of the actors, but were scammed instead.

Police said despite the initial contact occurring on social media, the conversations happen in the chat section of Gmail. The pseudo actor, or friend of an actor, then asks the victim to make a donation to one of the celebrity's charities. They start by requesting a small amount, between 200 and 700 euros, and then ask the victim to meet in person.

The alleged Denzel Washington - or any other of the profiles - redirects the victim to his personal agent and offers various contact options through applications such as Meeting, Meeting plus or Private Meeting, according to investigators. The Private Meeting option is accessed by paying 3,600 euros and allows personal contact with the actor. However, once the sum has been paid, the meeting is postponed with various excuses such as the recording of a new film or that the actor is going through a relationship break-up.

From that moment on, the relationship becomes secret, which is a twist carefully constructed by the scammer. The supposed Denzel Washington says he needs money without his wife's knowledge for the divorce proceedings and the victim creates an account on a fictitious website to make transfers to him. The victim is then convinced by the actor's agent that they are planning to come to Spain and that, in order to see them, 3,000 euros must be paid to hire private security.

Scammers targeted women aged between 45 to 61 in the reported cases; one of them has a mental disability. The three women affected in Malaga paid between 22,000 and 35,000 euros each.

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