Prominent New Zealanders, including Richie McCaw and Sir Bob Jones, are fed up with fake news spreading social media accounts using their likeness to promote "bogus" get-rich-quick schemes.

Jones – a Richlister, prominent businessman and property investor – said he had nothing to do with a sponsored Facebook page, which claims he endorses a cryptocurrency.

"I've always mocked speculation as for fools when it comes to money-making, which of course is all buying cryptocurrencies amounts to," he told the Herald, adding that the "story" was "bogus".

"Why there's been a splurge of this stuff targeting me recently is a mystery. I'll make inquiries to find a computer sophisticate (which I'm certainly not) who may have an answer."

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Jones is among an increasing number of prominent Kiwis who have had their name and picture used without permission by Facebook pages which claim they endorse a product.

Fake news stories targeting prominent New Zealanders in get-rich schemes Sir Bob Jones gives ultra generous gift to middle class New Zealand citizens on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / HEATINGJUICY.COM facebook page
Fake news stories targeting prominent New Zealanders in get-rich schemes Sir Bob Jones gives ultra generous gift to middle class New Zealand citizens on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / HEATINGJUICY.COM facebook page

Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has also been the target and has had enough.

A spokesman for McCaw, Halo Sport chief executive Simon Porter, said the former All Blacks number seven was keen to comment on his likeness being used without his permission.

"You can choose to look at this sort of unauthorised use of image a couple of ways," Porter said, on behalf of McCaw.

"Either simply ignore it because you trust the public will immediately dismiss it as a complete fabrication, or else you can choose to try and do something about it."

He said in his, and McCaw's, experience ignoring it is the only realistic option.

Fake news stories targeting prominent New Zealanders in get-rich schemes R.McCaw Arrested - McCaw pleads guilty to charges breadandgone.com
Fake news stories targeting prominent New Zealanders in get-rich schemes R.McCaw Arrested - McCaw pleads guilty to charges breadandgone.com

"We have tried in the past to track down the administrators of these websites and demand that images and the like be taken down."

But he said they are often difficult to trace and then notoriously difficult to pin down – that's if they engage at all.

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"Whilst it can at times be annoying, we take the view that trusting the public to see through the nonsense is the best approach."

Prominent New Zealand TV personalities have also been targeted.

One post claimed that in an interview with the AM Show's Duncan Garner, New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart, announced a "wealth loophole".

The post claimed to be written by the NZ Herald – but a spokeswoman for NZME, which owns the Herald, said this was not the case.

"The article was one of many served on social media channels featuring images of rich lister Graeme Hart used without his permission to promote a scam site," he said.

"The scammers behind the site took the additional step of claiming the Herald had written one of the articles, making it seem as though Hart was featured in the national paper. The 'article' was completely fake, and not associated in any way with the Herald or Hart.

"The team at the Herald immediately took steps to shut down the fake news. The Herald refers all such instances to its legal team."

Fake news stories targeting prominent New Zealanders in get-rich schemes Graeme Hart comes out with new secret investment that's making hundreds of people in New Zealand very rich shreddedcheesebliss.co
Fake news stories targeting prominent New Zealanders in get-rich schemes Graeme Hart comes out with new secret investment that's making hundreds of people in New Zealand very rich shreddedcheesebliss.co

This is not the first time Hart has been targeted in such a scheme.

Earlier this year, ads featuring the Richlister appeared online talking up his Bitcoin investments – the ads were fake and did not have Hart's endorsement.

Another recent post claimed that Newshub anchor Mike McRoberts was "FIRED Live on TV".

A spokesperson for Mediaworks told the Herald these "fake news" stories were not true.

"We are aware of the fake news stories using some of our staff that have been appearing on Facebook and social media sites.

"We have been reporting these to Facebook requesting they be removed and we will continue to actively report these as they come to hand."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also had her likeness used in schemes promoting Bitcoin, as has former Prime Minister John Key.

Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said these sorts of scams are appearing more frequently on social media sites.

He said scams that are endorsing some sort of financial product would often feature someone with a business background – which explains both Hart and Jones' likeness being used.

He warned that scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their development of online scams, making it difficult to immediately identify illegal activities.

But Cocker's advice to anyone who sees these scams online was to "do your research", even if it's a quick Google search on the product or the "company".