Facebook has deleted ads for a bitcoin scam that impersonated Abu Dhabi’s crown prince to attract the general public. A UAE news site unveiled this information on June 30. Titled “Bitcoin Loophole,” the scheme promised instant riches via BTC trading. To make the scam an irresistible offer, its masterminds claimed that Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince endorsed it.
According to the report, the scam cost Dh1,000 (approximately $272) to join. It promised investors riches in seven days. This saw thousands of UAE citizens share their phone numbers and email addresses with criminals on the social platform. To prevent further damage, Facebook took action and deleted the page. Per the social giant, the page ran from Ukraine and Argentina and had been active for weeks.
The report noted that the criminals used Sheikh Mohammed’s picture and marked it as sponsored. They also posted a fake quote from the prince that noted,
This is my way of giving back to the people!
Abu Dhabi’s Media Office Urges Investors to Be Careful
After deleting the page, Facebook discovered that it had links to other similar scams. Following this finding, the Abu Dhabi Media Office released a statement urging the general public to exercise due diligence before investing. The announcement further cited that the Abu Dhabi government would only make announcements via its official channels.
Reportedly, a Facebook spokesperson asserted that,
Claiming to be another person on Facebook violates our community standards, and we have a dedicated team that’s tasked with helping to detect and block these kinds of scams.
Crypto Scam Ads on the Rise
Prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s case, criminals have used the names and faces of other renowned individuals to propagate crypto scams.
In the past year, Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder faced the same problem. Cybercriminals hacked verified Twitter accounts and changed their names to Elon Musk. In so doing, they lured inattentive investors into believing Musk had promoted the crypto investment schemes. As a result, one of the accounts collected more than $170,000 from unsuspecting investors.
Earlier this month, criminals also impersonated John Del Mol, a Dutch billionaire to promote a crypto scam. This saw Del Mol sue Facebook for the ads that used his image without his permission. According to him, consumers lost as much as $1.9 million to the fraudulent schemes. This led to a tarnished reputation for the billionaire.
This news comes after Facebook became the first social platform to ban crypto ads in January this year. The firm noted that it would ban ads that use “misleading or deceptive promotional practices”. This ban targeted ads on fraudulent ICOs and crypto coins.
Do you think Facebook has the ability to flag and stop crypto scams before they reach the general public? Let us know in the comments below.