Recently Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) tweeted a warning about an online scam being conducted in his name.
“Please do not fall for scams advertising meetings, classes, conferences of material form people pretending to be, or represent, me or any directors unless they come from their official channels, – such as this – and you can verify them,” he wrote.
According to Variety, del Toro and other Mexican talent, including Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), actor Diego Luna (Andor) and director Amat Escalante (Narcos: Mexico), have been targeted by a scam artist who is posing as them online.
For the last two years, the scammer has been using the celebrities’ names to send messages to unknown writers telling them that they are interested in purchasing the rights to one of their books, so they can adapt it into a movie. Variety reports that Luna was targeted as recently as January 11, 2023.
Last summer, Cuarón tweeted a warning about the scam. “I am the real Alfonso Cuarón,” he wrote. “Sadly, I want to warn of a scammer who is pretending to be me by sending messages like: ‘Project Movie Deal,’ to get people to finance a fake project. Please do not pay any money or respond to this person.”
Escalante told Variety that his lawyer sent a cease-and-desist email to the scammer, who responded with the message: “Call me and I’ll stop. You know my number.” Escalante’s manager said their office has been contacted by at least 10 writers who received emails from the scammer pretending to be Escalante.
“They’re playing with people’s time, money and dreams,” Escalante said. “I just want this to stop. Ninety-nine percent may know it’s a scam but there’s always that one percent who might not.”