‘Keanu Reeves…I know it’s not you’: Scammers pretend to be celebrities in scams

A SoCal woman thought Keanu Reeves was turning to her online until an application was made for the money from the millionaire movie star.

“To this day, this morning, I have received – yesterday and today – eight texts from this man Keanu Reeves … I have emails, chats, texts, pictures and stuff, I challenge any girl to read and not believe it is true,” said Pamela Landers, a resident of Playa. Del Rey, “They Go Straight To Your Heart.”

Landers has not been coveted by one of the world’s biggest movie stars. She was a victim of what is known as deception or impersonation.

The Keanu Reeves scam is a relatively recent version of this racket – and one so effective, victims have reported being scammed by it nationally and worldwide.

“Impersonation scams come in a number of forms, be it government or business impersonation, relative identity impersonation or online love interest, also known as romance scams,” said Christopher Brown, an attorney for the FTC.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 150,000 romance scams have been reported to the Federal Trade Commission — likely just a fraction of the total. Many, if not most, victims are too embarrassed to report that they have been scammed.

“The fraudster pretends to be someone you trust in order to convince you to send them money or your personal information,” Brown said.

So she worked with Landers, who says Fake Keanu spent weeks expressing his love and earning her trust.

Once the hook was baited, Fake Keanu began swinging the Landers. First, he asked her about her net worth. Then he asked for money – $ 400,000.

In case you were wondering, Keanu Reeves has an estimated net worth of $380 million. Landers, who is an accountant, said she asked Fake Keanu why the millionaire needed her financial help.

“I didn’t get an answer to that question,” she said.

She also never sent any money, but texts and declarations of love continued. Romance con artists are nothing if they aren’t persistent.

“Keanu Reeves, if you’re watching this, I know it’s not you. I hope everyone knows it’s not you,” Landers said.

Reeves – the real person – was not available for comment, but his publicist said in a statement that “Keanu Reeves does not participate in any form of social media, has not done so in the past or plans to do so in the future. If anyone tries to contact You’re on social media claiming it’s him, that’s a scam.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises cutting all communication with Romeo or Juliet online the second time you are asked for money.

But Landers says this can be difficult, especially for people who might feel lonely or who might just take pleasure in the idea of ​​courting a celebrity.

Even now – knowing this was all a hoax – Landers still looks at the first few weeks of Fake Keanu’s interest with a sense of excitement.

“It was so much fun. It was so romantic…I always had to remind myself after the first two weeks that it wasn’t real. People don’t fall in love that way. It doesn’t happen,” she said.

But the trick works. In the last year alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission, victims of romance scams lost more than half a billion dollars.

“If in any way you feel an emptiness in some part of you, they will find it. They found it with me,” Landers said.