UPDATED: AUGUST 22, 2023 To reflect more current links for reporting accounts and added some new graphic visuals for reference.
We want you to be safe online today and every day. Scammers and imposters have existed for many years on social media. We report and block dozens of them monthly and ask you to do the same.
Please note: We get emails daily from people asking about potential scams. Too many to answer individually. We report as many as we can; however, for every one removed, many more appear. It is important to note that we can’t do much more than you can about the scammers. We have the same tools as every other social media user to report the accounts. We can’t block the accounts until we see the comments. We can’t prevent the accounts from being created. We can only ask you to be careful online and look for the verified checkmark on each social account. These spam accounts exist for thousands of celebrities and public figures, so until the platforms they appear on crack down on fake and spam accounts, there is little more that we can do other than to delete comments when we see them and report and block the offenders. We do our best to post reminders regularly to ignore, report, and block them.
You can find all of our official accounts right here at BretMichaels.com. You can find links to all of our official sites as well on the menu above or contained within posts on this site.
As a side note: You will see many ads for unauthorized, unlicensed merchandise. Our official store is shopbretmichaels.com. Do not purchase goods from unknown sources.
Here’s the short version of our regular reminder: Bret does not have any ‘private chats,’ nor does he have secret accounts that management doesn’t know about. We ask that you not engage with anyone using Bret (or any other public figure) wanting to ‘chat privately’. The scams evolve daily. If you don’t see the official verified account symbol of the service you are on, then report and block them. If you are harassed by anyone claiming to be Bret, a family member, or someone who works for Bret, it is important not only to report and block them but to save your contact with them and report them to the appropriate authorities. For more detailed information, please see our write-up with resource links below.
Here is one of the many videos Bret has done to remind everyone to be careful on social media. This video is from January 2021.
They are persistent; they are convincing; they are taking advantage of your admiration for your favorite public figure.
Celebrity imposters are probably as old as time. Modern technology, however, makes it all too easy to take advantage of people for financial gain like never before. Photoshop, AI (artificial intelligence), and computers have made it easy for anyone to take a photo or a video of a celebrity and make it something it is not. An ad for a sketchy product or bootleg merchandise. Fake identification documents. Fake pages and profiles on not only social media, but messaging and dating apps.
They comment on a post that you make; they direct message you with a note of thanks. They ask you to follow them on another page or join a ‘private chat’ page. While some have broken English or other obvious indications that they are not who they claim to be, they can still convince someone somewhere they are someone they are not.
They feed into the desire for the fan to connect personally with a celebrity. They can be very convincing…but there are always red flags at some point during the contact. It is very important that you do not engage them in any way.
Report them to Facebook, Google, X(Twitter), Tumblr, TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram. Block them immediately. They quite simply prey on fans for financial gain. The scams have become more sophisticated as time goes on. They take you away from social media by asking for your phone number or moving to a messaging app.
They are looking for money, gift cards, or just to steal your personal information.
These scams existed before social media.
Since at least 2005 we have posted warnings about people on the internet pretending to be Bret Michaels. Our 2005 website even had a disclaimer at the bottom.
Here are just a few of our Facebook posts over the years:
June 2021: https://fb.watch/9CdjBYAy4C/
November 2020: https://fb.watch/9CdqJs1Sh_/
Protect your personal information.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t share any personal information for any reason in a public place online. Not your phone number, not your address, not any information that can be used to compromise your identity. The celebrity scammers often ask for a phone number to get you off of the public forum and thereby prevent anyone else from interfering in their scam.
Do not give out your address to strangers on the internet. We know these scams can be convincing, but it is also impossible to stop them. They will find new ways to get to people and get whatever they are after.
Ignore, report, and block.
Resources for reporting scams and imposters.
First, you should report the account on the service you are on. Here are a few links for select services. If you do not see the service listed below, please use the help function of that service to find out how to report someone.
If they do not act on the first report, report them again. Appeal the report findings. It is important that you continue to report imposters.
Next, you should report them to the FTC and/or the FBI:
FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center: https://www.ic3.gov/
Check with local authorities as well to see if they have additional resources for reporting online scams.
If you’ve given out your phone number, check with your carrier for information on how to block calls and texts from specific numbers.
In our search to find resources, we’ve reviewed a few articles that may help you find more information and protect yourself in the future. These are provided without the endorsement of any product or service these sites may provide, just as an FYI. We encourage everyone to research and investigate the information contained within on their own. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you can protect yourself.