David Suzuki Foundation denounces CBD gummies scam using Suzuki and Kevin O'Leary's names

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      One of Canada’s most famous environmentalists and TV hosts has had to address an online scam using his name as well as the name of another Canadian TV personality.

      The David Suzuki Foundation issued a statement on July 30 to address a hoax that has been circulating online in Canada and the U.S. since June.

      According to the foundation, false articles from various sources, including a website posing as NBC Universal as well as branded content at websites such as L.A. Weekly, allege that Vancouver-based environmentalist David Suzuki is engaged in a legal battle with investor Kevin O’Leary, one of the stars of the CBC TV series Dragons’ Den as well as the U.S. version Shark Tank.

      The articles link to fake product pages for CBD gummies, which ask readers for credit card information.

      Unfortunately, the foundation states that several hundreds of people have fallen for this scam, and have given their credit card information to purchase non-existent cannabis products.

      “We have alerted several relevant authorities and we’re hoping the fake news stories and social media accounts will be removed quickly,” David Suzuki Foundation executive director Severn Cullis-Suzuki stated in a news release.  

      Consequently, the foundation has contacted several organizations about the scam, including the RCMP, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Competition Bureau Canada, Facebook, NBC Universal, a media distribution service allegedly used by the scammers (called 11 Press), and Kevin O’Leary’s team.

      The foundation states that RCMP said that the issue is outside of their jurisdiction and that individuals should contact their local police. Meanwhile, Facebook reportedly located 20 fake Facebook webpages about the gummies.

      O’Leary has not issued a statement about this issue.

      USA Today reported on July 29 that an online scam falsely claimed that Shark Tank, using photos of O’Leary, invested in CBD gummies created by contestants Donna and Rosy Khalif.

      The Georgia Straight has contacted the David Suzuki Foundation for more information.

      Anyone who has information about this scam is asked to contact the foundation.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.