Chef Simon Gault’s warning after images used in dating and weight-loss scams | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Renowned chef Simon Gault is urging Kiwis to stay vigilant online after scammers stole his image and used it to market weight-loss supplements promising dramatic results.

Gault told the Herald he learned of the weight-loss scam when one of his workers spotted a post online and shared it with him.

“There appears to be multiple ones out there with me promoting gummies and health courses, and talking all about my sex life and all sorts of things.”

He said the scammers had even created fake screenshots of articles purporting to be written by the Herald.

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“Once I was at work and I get a call and I was quite busy and they said there’s a girl calling you from Spain. So I went and spoke to her, and she said, ‘Well listen I’ve been dating you on this religious dating site for probably about eight months’.”

Gault said the woman realised it wasn’t him when she paid $5000 to the person’s account to allegedly help him out.

Some images of the scam. Photo / Supplied

Gault was concerned that people who know he runs the Four Wheels of Health course would believe the weight-loss gummies were “legit” and would part with their money.

“It pisses me off, I’ve just been through it so many times with copycat things. There was a girl from the Philippines who was almost about to put a whole bunch of money in and luckily she contacted me.”

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He was somewhat amused at “how well” he was doing on religious dating sites given he was not even on them.

“As humorous as it is, these guys are out there and they are taking money. For them to go to that much effort, write articles, put it in the [doctored images of the Herald], it’s obviously working for them.”

He said one scam claimed his wife had left him because he could not perform in bed.

“That kind of distresses me a little bit.”

Because the scammers block him on social media, Gault said he is unable to lodge a complaint against the pages.

“They’re just scum of the earth aren’t they? And what can you do? The more you rile them up the more they have a go at you.”

He said the only way people could access his health course was through the Four Wheels of Health website.

“Which is not a diet, people cannot lose weight sustainably 10 kilos in three weeks, it just can’t be done. You need to apply science.”

Spotting scams and staying safe

1. Never click on links contained in text messages. Even if you think a text is legitimate, go to the organisation’s website using an address you have bookmarked and log on from there.

2. Legitimate providers won’t ask you to install something to check your account or receive a delivery.

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3. Check the sender’s number. If it’s from a legitimate company (like a bank or a courier) it will be sent via computer and will probably use a four-digit number rather than an individual’s phone to send the messages. Your bank isn’t going to have someone sitting there with a phone sending out these messages manually, so if you get one from an individual number (e.g. 021 123 456) it’s probably fake.

4. If you haven’t clicked on the link you don’t have to worry. A text message can’t infect your phone just by you opening it.

5. If the text includes a phone number to contact the provider, don’t use it. Go to the provider’s website, look up their number and call them that way. Scammers will try to get you to talk to them so they can convince you to share information. Don’t trust those numbers.

6. Report the scam text to the Department of Internal Affairs by forwarding it to 7726. The more reports they get, the better they’re able to assess the potential harm and act accordingly.

7. Delete the text. Better not to have it around in case you accidentally click on it.

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National Cyber Security