Fake celebrity endorsements are nothing new in the CBD world. The rise in cannabidiol’s popularity has led to numerous unscrupulous scammers creating fake comments, advertisements and websites, all pretending to represent a celebrity whose life has been changed by CBD.
The latest celebrity to fall foul of this type of endorsement is Russel Brand. In a fake webpage seen by leafie, a fairly convincing replica of a Daily Mail article appears to claim Brand has created his own range of CBD gummies so amazing, that even ‘big pharma’ wants to shut him down.
This fraudulent endorsement seemingly plays on Brand’s criticism of pharmaceutical companies in the wake of the COVID pandemic and is designed to appeal to his loyal followers who are likely to be interested in their health and wellness.
The fake article goes on to talk about Brand’s entirely fictitious business, which he purportedly set up in 2018, and claims that pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are suing the celebrity because his products were having an impact on their bottom line.
The suggestion that giant pharmaceutical companies would pursue a court case because they were being outsold is ridiculous enough, and neither Pfizer nor GlaxoSmithKline front any retail CBD brands to be in competition with the fictitious company.
Not content with misquoting one celebrity, the fake page also features made-up endorsements from other celebrities, such as David Attenborough, Andy Murray and Mo Farah.
Sadly, these fake endorsements are rife, and not only do they rip off the image of a celebrity, but they are also costly for unsuspecting customers too. Often, products never arrive, and when they do, they are of poor quality. In some cases, credit cards are billed for hundreds of pounds for products listed as much less. Which reported that a member of the public contacted them over a similar scam, where they were promised a sample for £5, and billed for £198. On contacting the fraudulent company, they were advised it was an error, and they could return the products for a full refund, but the products never arrived.
While these scams can look convincing, there are various ways you can protect yourself. Check the end website that requests your money, if it only has one page or asks for payment details right away, it’s likely a scam. You can also check the celebrities official and verified social media profiles – if they aren’t talking about a CBD brand on Twitter or Instagram, it’s likely they haven’t really created one. Often, they’ll be doing their best to highlight that the endorsement is false, and has nothing to do with them.
If you are interested in trying a CBD brand, do your own research, ask friends and family if they have any recommendations, or ask around on social media and trusted CBD websites such as leafie. We have approached Russell Brand’s team to make them aware of this false representation and to ask for a comment.