‘Rotten to the core’ — Ardern calls out scammers posing as her to swindle good-hearted Kiwis

Andrew Macfarlane
Source: 1News

“Rotten to the core.” That’s how Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is describing those who’ve been posing as her to swindle people out of their money in a new scam.

The scam is hitting Facebook, where criminals reuse live-streamed videos from celebrities and ask people to donate to Covid-19 charities.

Perpetrators then ask for your bank details, take your cash, and disappear.

It’s not just Ardern having her videos reused.

Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith are just some of the others who are being caught up in the scam.

Today, the Prime Minister urged the public to be cautious of videos of her asking for money.

"You can be assured that I do not and actually cannot ask on behalf of charities or organisations online based on the Cabinet Manual for people to hand over money," she said.

"So, if you see that online in Facebook Lives, you can be assured that’s not real."

Facebook was unaware of the scam until 1 NEWS started asking questions, and officials initially struggled to track down the videos in question.

In a statement, a spokesperson said they’ve started removing several posts as a result.

"We encourage people to report any potential scams they see on Facebook through our reporting tools so we can review and remove them as quickly as possible."

Martin Cocker, Netsafe’s chief executive, told 1 NEWS that he expects to see more of these scams reported.

He said Facebook could be doing more to remove this type of activity from its website.

“When you’re filming a live stream on a platform and another person’s playing that live stream there could be a technical step that blocks that person from being able to do it.”