Suzuki Foundation refutes 'fake news' allegations
This is to alert you that an online hoax involving David Suzuki has been circulating throughout Canada (and potentially in the U.S.) since at least mid-June.
Posing as a variety of news sources (including NBCUniversal), and sharing fake news stories through dozens of fake Facebook pages, scammers have been propagating a false narrative about a legal battle between David Suzuki and famed investor and Dragons’ Den star Kevin O’Leary. The stories lead to fictitious product pages, where readers are asked for credit card information.
It appears hundreds of people, including many of our supporters, have been conned. Many gave their credit card information to buy the CBD gummies.
We feel for anyone tricked by this deceitful online scam. We’ve alerted relevant authorities and hope the fake news stories and social media accounts will be removed quickly.
Forgive the pun, but we need to nip this one in the bud.
We’ve reached out to several organizations for help: Facebook, the Vancouver Police Department, the RCMP, NBCUniversal, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Competition Bureau Canada, a media distribution service supposedly used by the scammers (called “11 Press”) and Kevin O’Leary’s team.
The Vancouver Police have opened a case and are investigating – they suggest anyone with information contact their local police or RCMP detachment. Facebook has uncovered approximately 20 fake Facebook pages promoting the gummies, but hasn’t yet removed them – they are also still investigating.
This is an example of the disturbing yet successful industry of online fraudsters that prey on innocent people, and a reminder of the importance of media literacy in this digital age. Fake news leads to everything from climate denial to vaccine skepticism and more. Improving everyone’s ability to tell the difference between real and false information should always be a high priority.
If you have information that might help bring these scammers to justice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-453-1533.
Thank you for your enduring partnership.
Incoming Executive Director
David Suzuki Foundation
P.S. Despite these distractions, our focus is undeterred. Our mission to protect nature’s diversity and the well-being of all life, now and for the future, continues unabated. With your support, we’ll continue to advance climate solutions, create sustainable communities, and protect and restore ecosystems so nature can thrive.