Entertainment & Arts

Paddy McGuinness 'duped' by fake Derek Griffiths charity 'scam'

McGuinness scam Image copyright PA
Image caption McGuinness spent £600 on what he thought was a charity dinner

Paddy McGuinness has claimed he was duped by someone posing as actor Derek Griffiths on Twitter.

The Take Me Out host says he paid £600 on eBay for what he thought was a charity dinner with the former Coronation Street actor.

Details of the dinner were posted on a verified Twitter account for Griffiths, which turned out to not belong to him.

Twitter has now suspended the account but would not provide any comment due to "privacy and security reasons".

McGuinness said the episode was "not a good start to 2018" in a tweet to his 320,000 followers.

"I paid over £600 to a supposed autism charity," he said.

The TV presenter also tweeted again later with screenshots of some of the eBay feedback from users who also thought they had purchased dinner with Griffiths.

Image copyright Paddy McGuiness/Twitter
Image copyright Paddy McGuinness/ Twitter

The BBC spoke to a representative for Derek Griffiths, who confirmed that the actor has never been a Twitter user and that the account in his name was fake.

Twitter suspended the account on Monday evening, while eBay has also suspended listings for charity lunches with Griffiths, who is best known for his appearances on children's TV in the 1970s and 80s.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A spokesman for Derek Griffiths confirmed he has never been on Twitter

Radio host and I'm a Celebrity contestant Iain Lee, who previously interviewed Griffiths, began investigating on Twitter after finding out the account was fake on Monday.

Users who also claim to have been taken in have been sharing their stories with Lee on the social media platform, including Duncan Young, who says he donated £250 after seeing the charity events advertised on a verified Twitter account.

Hollyoaks actress Annie Wallace also claimed on Twitter that the fake account had been contacting "loads of people including verified TV stars, requesting merchandise, autographs, etc".

Others backed up this claim, including Twitter user David Laud who says he was approached for money by the account.

A spokeswomen for eBay told the BBC: "When it comes to charity auctions, buyers should look out for items marked with the eBay for charity ribbon or they can make a donation to a featured charity when paying for an item through eBay checkout."

The BBC has also contacted the police's national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, Action Fraud, for a statement.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story