Sir Ian McKellen has warned fans of an impersonator who has been deceiving autograph hunters.
The perpetrator had worn a cap and a mask over his face to disguise himself as the Lord of the Rings star at an “official signing” that swindled 400 fans out of money.
It is reported that fans had paid between £75 and £100 to have their possessions autographed by McKellen in Canary Wharf.
Organizers of the signing event were made to wait outside while the ersatz McKellen signed the items, which were then given the official “Beckett” stamp of authenticity and shipped to fans.
However, fans noticed something awry with the penmanship and started complaining to the event’s organizers, Smugglers Entertainments Ltd.
After the real McKellen was contacted, he issued a statement on Twitter to fans confirming that the event was a hoax.
“I have been made aware that a man impersonating me and two women posing as my representatives have recently approached a promoter in Kent with the offer of a ‘private signing’ by Ian McKellen,” he said.
“I am very sorry for anyone who has sent in photos and items to be signed by this fraudulent impersonator.”
He added that the promoter had offered to make refunds to the fans who had been defrauded “as soon as possible”. “To be clear, I have never attended paid signings,” McKellen continued. “I do sign for charity and individuals who submit items directly to me.” The actor’s Twitter bio has also now been updated to read: “Beware of imposters who try to gain confidence.” "Not only was the imposter fake, so were the autographs and authenticator," McKellen concluded.