Bitcoin scam ads appear to be growing as hackers are looking to capitalize on the asset’s rally.
In a recent investigation, authorities appear to have traced a Bitcoin ad-based scam operation to addresses in Russia.
Russia or Ukraine
Last weekend, The Guardian Australia reported on a significant Bitcoin ad scheme operating for about two years. The scammers use images of several famous people without their consent in articles promoting fraudulent crypto investment schemes. Many of these schemes promise vast returns on activities ranging from crypto investment to mining, hoping to catch unsuspecting victims.
The Guardian had traced five people who reportedly registered hundreds of fake websites related to the scam. All five have addresses in central Moscow, and the news source added that it had submitted the Email addresses for two of the suspects to Google.
The Guardian also reported that the scam could have also originated from Ukraine. It referenced a March 2020 report from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which discovered a call center in Kyiv that ran ads for similar Bitcoins scams.
Keeping the Lawyers Happy
The investigation into the case appears to have been self-preservatory. The company fell into troubled waters with Australian millionaire Dick Smith after his identity was used in an ad campaign to promote fraudulent crypto schemes on The Guardian.
As The Australian reported in October, Smith, who runs an electronics retail store named after himself, threatened to sue The Guardian Australia for defamation. While the ads themselves didn’t feature cryptocurrencies, they linked to fake interviews featuring successful individuals like Smith.
In these interviews, Smith reportedly boasts about making significant gains in his crypto investments. Many of the interviews also reportedly featured attractive headlines like “Get rich in a few days” and “How to make money easy.”
Smith’s lawyer, Mark O’Brien, said at the time that the business mogul was focused on ensuring that the scams come to a permanent end.
“While we acknowledge that The Guardian Australia does take the fraudulent advertisements down once notified, that does not prevent [its] Australian readers from falling victim to this prolific cryptocurrency scam.”
Hoping to avoid any legal case, the news medium appeared to have gone on an investigation spree of its own. Investigations from Google should help bring more clarity to the issue, and the news source will hope to bring the scammers to justice sooner rather than later.