Nickelback followers have had it tough.
First, they’ve needed to defend their favourite band from jokesters on the web who’ve mercilessly mocked the group for years.
Now, they’re getting catfished.
Devotees of the Canadian rock group are being contacted by profiles pretending to be band members Chad Kroeger, Ryan Peake, Mike Kroeger and Daniel Adair. Some are searching for love; others cash within the type of Bitcoin or iTunes present playing cards. None of them are actual, however dedicated supporters reply anyway, on the off likelihood their superstar crush is on the opposite facet of the display screen.
It’s gotten so unhealthy that in July, the band tweeted out a message to remind followers to maintain their guard up. “Pleasant reminder that the one official Nickelback Twitter account is true right here, together with Mr. @TheDanielAdair,” they wrote. “Search for the blue checkmark to realize it’s the true deal on all social networks. Report any accounts which are claiming in any other case.”
Queens resident Nicole Godja has been contacted by a number of profiles pretending to be frontman Chad Kroeger since final 12 months, on Instagram, Fb and Google Hangouts. She follows the band on their verified Instagram account, and was a part of a Fb fan group, the place a number of different members have been contacted by pretend accounts.
“Thanks for following my web page and for the love and assist you’ve all showered on me and the entire of nickelback crew I hope you by no means cease supporting us and listening to our songs,” a profile with the deal with @chad__robert_kroeger_ messaged her in October. (Whereas that account not exists, at the very least a dozen phonies have popped up as a substitute.)
The translator, 48, was instantly suspicious. “There have been purple flags,” she instructed The Publish. The account wasn’t verified, it had no profile image and solely 70 followers. Nonetheless, she stored up the dialog, interested by the one that had contacted her, whoever it could be. “I had doubts that it will be him, so I requested him staple items about him,” she mentioned. “It didn’t add up.”
The account was “flirting with me from the start,” and even mentioned that he beloved her, mentioned Godja, who’s single. “This man can have any girl on the planet,” she mentioned of Avril Lavigne’s ex-husband. “Why would he go browsing and search for weirdos?”
Kroeger and Nickelback didn’t reply to requests for remark by press time.
Although Godja mentioned that she by no means believed she was speaking to the true Kroeger, she was involved with the account virtually every day till New 12 months’s, when she determined to interrupt off communication. The pretend Chad wouldn’t ship photos of himself, get on the telephone or do a video name with Godja, claiming it was towards his supervisor’s guidelines to speak to followers.
He’d additionally tried to solicit cash from her: Each the Fb and Instagram accounts claimed that he wanted her to pay practically $13,000 in Bitcoin so he may ship a trunk he wanted to her home, and the Chad on Hangouts wished iTunes present playing cards from her, saying his managers forbade him from “earning profits on the facet,” mentioned Godja. Realizing she was being scammed, she declined.
“I really feel like a superb rule of thumb is that if any individual is using a supervisor, they don’t want your cash,” Gabrielle Bluestone, writer of “Hype: How Scammers, Grifters, and Con Artists Are Taking Over the Internet—and Why We’re Following,” instructed The Publish. “If it appears too good to be true, it most likely is.”
Although it’s unclear why Nickelback followers particularly are being focused, Bluestone mentioned age might play a task. After launching in 1995, the band’s recognition peaked within the late aughts. “Individuals who haven’t grown up on the web are a bit extra vulnerable to scams. Older individuals generally make higher targets for scammers,” she mentioned.
Their devotion to the group can also be a key issue: On-line fan golf equipment give scammers “a pool of potential victims that respect the band and need to assist them out,” she mentioned.
And regardless of clear warning indicators, die-hard followers usually unconsciously need to disregard them. “Everybody needs to be the exception to the rule; individuals can speak themselves into something, particularly when it’s one thing they care deeply about,” mentioned Bluestone.
Whereas verified celebrities like Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry are contacting followers on relationship app Raya, the rip-off knowledgeable says you must all the time be in your toes: “There may be the expertise to make a pretend Ben Affleck video,” she mentioned. “Until you’re seeing it face-to-face with your individual eyes, there ought to all the time be a dose of suspicion there.”
The accounts have since reached again out to Godja, and she or he continues to talk to them every single day, hoping they’ll reveal their true id to her. She’s reported the Fb and Hangouts account, and a few have been taken down, although the catfish retains creating extra.
“I really feel unhealthy that they offer a nasty identify to the band,” mentioned Godja, of the scammers.
“I’m actually unhappy. I’ll by no means know [Nickelback] personally, however I don’t suppose these individuals deserve that.”