Australian Regulators warn over rising fake celebrity endorsed Crypto Scams

Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has issued warnings over an increasing number of fake celebrity endorsed crypto scams in the country.

By · Jul 31, 2020 . 5min read

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The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has warned people over fake celebrity-endorsed crypto scams. According to an official announcement, AISC has received numerous reports concerning counterfeit celebrity ads to scam Australians. These scams have been popping up with increasing regularity in recent times.

The fraudulent websites were pretending to be prominent Australian celebrities like Waleed Aly, Mike Baird, Dick Smith, and Virginia Trioli. They also pretend to be prominent businesses, government agencies, and news sites.

Bitcoin Evolution is one example. The Phillippines and Malta have also encountered a scam under the same name. Other examples include Bitcoin Revolution and Bitcoin Trader. These are mostly fake crypto trading bots.

ASIC released the following statement:

“These websites are advertised using fake celebrity endorsements, which appear on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. When an investor clicks on the article or ad, they are often sent to a ‘mirror site’ – a fake version of a legitimate news site such as ABC News.”

ASIC outlined how the fraudsters conduct their scams. They generate fake news articles and ads on social media by combining a particular set of search words. Publications often publish these articles which perpetuates excitement around cryptocurrencies. They also contain fake endorsements by celebrities.

“As more people buy into the cryptocurrency, its value rises (‘pumps’ up) and other traders latch on, further boosting its price. The scammers then sell (‘dump’) their own share in the now-overvalued cryptocurrency. This causes its value to plummet, along with any hope for victims of recovering their initial investment.”

In 2019, Australians lost more than $21.6 million to crypto scams. Australian citizens between the ages of 25 and 34 were the most vulnerable.

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