July 1, 2019 | AtoZ Markets - The social media giant Facebook has recently taken actions again bitcoin fraudsters which were using UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed name to lure crypto traders into their fake bitcoin trading platform. Is this a first time when Fake Bitcoin platform abuses Abu Dhabi ruler or any other famous person?
Fake Bitcoin platform uses UAE Crown Prince image to lure victims into their schemes
As the local media reports, the scammers were operating for weeks. In this period, the post which included an image of Sheikh Mohamed received more than 8000 comments and was shared about 5000 times. To lure victims into their scheme, scammers reportedly were using a fake story about the Crown Prince, claiming that he wants to help people by making them rich with a Bitcoin trading platform. People who expressed interest in ‘investing’ willingly were sharing with the criminals their personal information, including phone numbers and email addresses.
To make their message to sound more convincing, the fraudsters even included a fabricated quote from the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, saying the phony Bitcoin scheme was “my way of giving back to the people”. Criminals were urging their victims to spend Dh918, or $250, to sign up to fake Bitcoin trading platform dubbed as Bitcoin Loophole on the external website. Later the fake Bitcoin platform has been eventually exposed as a scam.
Facebook removed the post and page, which also included links to other scams after UAE-based media outlet enquired about it. UAE Media Office urged the resident to be careful and not to be tricked by the requests to hand over money online.
Criminals operating on social media are getting more common
In addition to Sheikh Mohamed image misuse, the fraudsters were using the picture of a US-based freelance journalist Timothy Seppala. In the fraudsters' post, Seppala was presented as ‘Michael Alvarado’ who was telling readers he had made Dh26,000 on the aforementioned fake Bitcoin platform. Later, however, Timothy Seppala by himself reported having no connection with the scam and confirmed his picture is being used without his permission.
It is not a single time when crypto scammers lure victims into their fake Bitcoin platform by misusing images of public figures.
Earlier this year, Martin Lewis, a British consumer finance journalist, sued Facebook for not doing enough to prevent his image being used in scams. Lewis dropped the case after the company agreed to donate £3m (Dh14m) to set up an anti-scam project and launch a UK-specific one-click reporting tool.
Another case of the crypto scam was detected in June when criminals used an image of an Australian actor Hugh Jackman to encourage victims to start investing in their fake bitcoin platform. In March 2019, different media reported about crypto scammers who used a Facebook ad featuring investor and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden and entrepreneur Peter Jones.
According to the latest reports from the UK financial regulator, in February losses from investment frauds, including those related to cryptocurrency, in 2018 amounted to more than $ 255 million.
The Australian financial watchdog ASIC put crypto trading scams on the second place among the most popular fraudulent activities in the country.
Atoz Markets reminds crypto traders to stay vigilant and careful and check the authenticity of campaigns asking for donations or offering fast and huge profits particularly online and on social media.
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