X Factor reject Wagner was spared an exit from the show much sooner than expected thanks to an internet scam which duped unsuspecting shoppers into voting for him.
Hoaxers wanting him to stay in the competition placed his premium line voting number in a number of false adverts on classified website Gumtree for items such as games consoles, concert tickts and flats for rent.
One advert read: “A small but cozy 1 bedroom flat in Notting Hill. Anyone interested contact Cheryl on 0901 6161101”. An Xbox 360 was also placed on the website with the message: “Phone 09016161101 if interested”.
The ploy meant thousands of people inadvertently voted and parted with their money to keep the Brazilian wannabe in the competition.
According to The Mirror, X Factor bosses have demanded Gumtree investigate the scam, which appears to back up claims by Simon Cowell that dark forces were trying to ‘derail’ the show.
ITV said: “We have made Gumtree aware and they are looking into the matter.”
One show source said: “It just goes to show how pervasive and damaging this campaign to keep him in became.”