PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Oprah Winfrey is using social media to spread a warning to her fans.
It seems scammers are trying to impersonate her in what’s known as a “like-farming” scam.READ MORE: 'It's Time For Baseball': Fairmount Sports Association Opens Little League Season In Another Sign Of Recovery From COVID
Winfrey is on the offensive against online scammers pretending to be her.
“It’s a fraud,” said Winfrey.
The fake accounts popped up on Instagram this month, promising to give $5,000 to each of their first 100,000 followers.
Their names suggested they were affiliated with OWN, Winfrey’s TV network, and their posts even celebrated her kindness.
These fake accounts often use real videos from Winfrey, but profiles like these don’t have blue checkmarks indicating they are verified Instagram accounts.READ MORE: Gas Prices Drop In New Jersey, Around Nation As Gas Inventories Go Up
“Somebody out there is trying to scam you using my name and my avatar on social media, asking for money if you sign up for an OWN account on Instagram,” said Winfrey.
Victor Ockleberry, 63, recently saw a Facebook post claiming Winfrey and Tyler Perry were giving away cars and other prizes. He says he became suspicious when people were asked to send money to Jamaica to cover taxes and fees.
“If they had said I would have won, more than likely I would have sent $750 to Jamaica, because that’s just how much I believe in Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey,” said Ockleberry.
Winfrey has been responding to commenters on her official Instagram account by letting them know she’s not involved in any giveaways.
“Don’t give up any of your bank accounts or personal information to anybody posing as me or anyone else for that matter, and have a Merry Christmas,” said Winfrey.
An Instagram spokeswoman told CBS News, “We apologize to Oprah and any Instagrammers who may have been affected by these fake accounts. When we catch violating activity, we work to counter and prevent it, including blocking accounts.”MORE NEWS: WATCH: Girl Challenges Pittsburgh Police Officer And Former Pitt Football Player To Race
About 100 phony Winfrey accounts have been removed so far.