Facebook recently removed ads from a crypto scam that claimed to have support from the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
According to reports by local news outlet, The National, a crypto scam dubbed as “Bitcoin Loophone” has been targeting residents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) region. Reports indicate that the scam was being run from Ukraine and Argentina and has been spreading for weeks.
Scammers running the operations lured inventors with claims that Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, personally endorsed the scheme. Scammers claimed that this was the princes’ way of giving back to the people.
In this project, investors were asked to make an up-front donation of 1,000 UAE dirhams (about $272). They were promised huge returns within a week with investors expecting to earn up to $13,000 per day.
Reportedly, many investors fell victim to the scheme and shared their phone numbers and email addresses with the criminals. To further lure investors, scammers combined information on the scheme with details from an actual economic stimulus package created by the Sheikh.
In addition, scammers used images of a United States-based journalist and fake quotes from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Speaking on the fraud, a Facebook spokesperson stated:
“We want people to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook. 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.”
The Abu Dhabi Media Office has released a statement warning the public to exercise caution when dealing with online investment schemes. In the warning, authorities explained that people should always check or verify with official channels any information about government officials.
The “sponsored” Facebook post sharing the scam was shared about 5,000 times and attracted more than 8,000 comments. A Dubai-based digital marketing expert said, “I was stunned to see the number of likes, comments on the post and shares on the post.”
In January 2018, Facebook was the first social platform to ban crypto related post with an aim of protecting people from similar crypto related schemes. However, a few months later, the social media giant updated its policy on crypto ban to allow crypto ads from pre-approved advertisers.
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