For some years now, Bitcoin scam artists have been tricking investors out of their hard earned money using fake, celebrity-related traps and schemes. The latest two celebrities to have fallen victim to these criminals are Australian TV presenters, Karl Stefanovic, and Waleed Aly.
These scams are often advertised on Facebook or other social media sites. People who are unaware of how the fraud work do not realize that they are scams until they have already parted ways with their money and can never get it back.
Australians have lost millions to online scams. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published scam statistics recently, which showed that Australians have lost over $14 million to scams in 2019 alone. So far, 1,255 cases have been reported and over $2,248,358 has been lost to social networking scams.
How do the Celebrity-Based Bitcoin Scams work?
The fraudster posts an ad that says something along the lines of “Celebrity X is making a killing with this cryptocurrency-related project.” The victim is then asked to sign up and pay a fee to participate in the project. With the case of Karl Stefanovic, the name of the Bitcoin scam was called, “Bitcoin Evolution.”
Once the victims sign up and pay the fees, there is virtually no way to recover the money or to determine who created the fraud, due to the highly anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies. Along with Karl Stefanovic and Waleed Aly, Elon Musk has been frequently used as bait for cryptocurrency scammers who create fake ads with his image and likeness.
Another celebrity who has seen her image used to milk innocent citizens is TODAY SHOW’s Co-Host Georgie Gardner, who even slammed the social network for not doing enough to clean up its community.
Facebook, on the other hand, says it has a strict guideline against these scams. The social network’s Guideline’s page explains:
“We remove fake accounts and disrupt economic incentives for people that share misinformation.”
Do the Victims Have any Responsibility?
Even though Bitcoin scam victims are often not aware of the scams before they fall prey, it can be argued that they have a small amount of responsibility at the very least for losing their money. These celebrity-based Bitcoin scams are just the latest in a long line of internet-based scams that fraudsters have been using for years, starting in the nineties with the Arabian Prince email scam.
If you are familiar with the famous Arabian Prince email scam, it was a scam that involved fraudsters emailing random people claiming to be an Arabian Prince who had a sudden need to deposit a large amount of money in a bank account for temporary safekeeping. All you had to do was reply to the email with your bank account details, and you would receive the money.
At a certain point, people who allow themselves to fall for these highly suspicious advertisements and internet tricks need to take some level of accountability. If you want to prevent yourself from being a victim of an internet scam, here is a piece of advice, if it looks suspicious and it seems doubtful, it probably is. Stay away from such offers online.
A Symptom of a Larger Problem
The Bitcoin Australian celebrity scam is a symptom of a large cryptocurrency-related fraud problem. The bigger problem is that crypto-related crime is happening on a much larger scale. Roughly $1.1 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen in the first half of 2018 alone.
Also, cybercriminals and hackers have been hacking corporations, individuals, and other entities, demanding Bitcoin ransoms to be paid to prevent releasing sensitive files or blocking access to their websites permanently. The WannaCry ransomware, one of the most popular ransomware, caused a damage of $100 million to the National Health Services in the UK.
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