A company has fabricated a story about Paula Bennett to entice people to buy its weight loss product.
Photo / Dean Purcell
Former deputy Prime Minister and Herald columnist and podcast host Paula Bennett has revealed she’s had to call in lawyers and private investigators to tackle ongoing social media scams using her image.
Bennett revealed back in September that her image was being used to push a product, Via Keto, described as a “natural product” to help people loss weight. The images included doctored versions of actual sponsored content Bennett had done, and used photos from before and after her gastric bypass surgery.
At the time, Bennett told the Herald the scam was “sickening” and was playing on overweight people’s insecurities.
Now, talking to chef Simon Gault about weight loss on her NZ Herald podcast, Ask Me Anything, Bennett revealed the scams are still happening.
“People are getting scammed by it still, and it’s been about two and a half months. Trust me, I keep getting it shut down. They just start up again. It’s because people are buying it right?
“I’ve got private investigators, I’ve got lawyers on it,” she said. “I’ve gotta say Facebook has actually been really helpful, but man, it’s awful and I really feel awful for those people out there that are getting scammed.”
Gault revealed he has seen his likeness used for a scam as well, with a fake dating profile and social media accounts being used to con at least two women out of their money.
“I had one lady ring me at the restaurant one night who was from Spain, and I spoke to her and she said, ‘I’ve been dating you online now for months, and I’ve just discovered another site, you seem to be a different person’. And it was a religious dating site, they had photos of me, they had photos of my daughter. They’d taken all the photos off my social media
“She shelled out 5,000 US dollars to me, that wasn’t me, and I’ve had that twice now with people and just p****s me off.”
Facebook scams have becoming increasingly common in recent years using the likenesses of prominent New Zealanders. Newstalk ZB hosts Kate Hawkesby and Mike Hosking have both seen their images used in scams in the last two years.
Listen to the full chat between Paula and Simon here: