Police report filed over online ads misusing Schooling's name

The ads on Facebook have headlines such as "Schooling Reveals His Genius Wealth Strategies" and "What Schooling Is Doing With All His Wealth", as seen in screenshots sent to The Sunday Times by Ms Ng Doswell.
The ads on Facebook have headlines such as "Schooling Reveals His Genius Wealth Strategies" and "What Schooling Is Doing With All His Wealth", as seen in screenshots sent to The Sunday Times by Ms Ng Doswell.PHOTO: RONDA NG DOSWELL

Online advertisements have been misusing the image and name of Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling, said the Olympic gold medallist's agent and manager Ronda Ng Doswell yesterday.

The ads on Facebook have headlines such as "Schooling Reveals His Genius Wealth Strategies" and "What Schooling Is Doing With All His Wealth", as seen in screenshots sent to The Sunday Times by Ms Ng Doswell.

A police report has been made and there are plans to contact Facebook about this, she said.

The Schooling Company, which owns the 23-year-old swimmer's branding and image rights, said in a statement yesterday that the ads are not endorsed by Schooling.

"He has never spoken to these websites or 'reporters'. This is false representation and a misuse of Joseph's image and name," said the statement.

Ms Ng Doswell said she found out about the issue on Friday when screenshots of the ads were sent to her.

However, she is unsure if there are such ads circulating outside of the social media platform and is not aware if there have been any victims of the false ads.

 
 
 

She said the ads may be seen only by whoever the scammers wish to target, and she has received only screenshots of them. The Sunday Times could not find the ads online.

Schooling, who won the 100m butterfly gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, represents a few brands as an ambassador. Among them are local bank DBS, men's fashion label Hugo Boss, probiotic drink Yakult, and imaging and optical products manufacturer Canon.

He is the latest in a growing list of high-profile fake-news victims, who include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, home-grown singer Stefanie Sun, Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan, Britain's Prince Harry and American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Their fake endorsements are used to trick the unsuspecting into investing in dubious cryptocurrency platforms and Ponzi schemes, or to hand over personal information such as bank account and credit card details.

The false endorsements are typically the work of crime gangs, bitcoin experts had previously told The Sunday Times. Most are based in European countries such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary and Romania.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 21, 2018, with the headline 'Police report filed over online ads misusing Schooling's name'. Print Edition | Subscribe