Beloved Australian X-Men star Hugh Jackman has announced his retirement from acting to pursue his recent $50 million investment in … a Bitcoin scam.
That’s according to ‘FinanceIgnite.com‘ – one of scores of tailored landing pages redirecting to various alleged Bitcoin scams and ponzis schemes including Bitcoin Evolution and Bitcoin Revolution.
Adopting the tone of a news story, the page says that Jackman’s fans were in tears after the announcement even though, “Hugh has announced that he is expecting to double the value of his investment in just half a year.”
Jackman is just one of scores of celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Richard Branson, whose identities scammers have stolen to front Bitcoin scams.
Google, Facebook, Instagram spread the Bitcoin scams
The fake celebrity endorsements for Bitcoin scams appear everywhere – Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Outlook and Yahoo.
Dozens if not hundreds of localised versions target minor national celebrities for extra credibility.
They include Karl Stefanovic, Deborah Knight, Waleed Aly and Georgie Gardner in Australia, TV host Daniel Faitaua in New Zealand and Dutch personalities John de Mol, Waylon, and Humberto Tan.
De Mol, the billionaire creator of Big Brother, was in court this week suing Facebook for allowing the ads to be published.
Malta financial watchdog denies it licensed ‘Bitcoin Revolution’
In Malta, there’s a localised version claiming Maltese actor and TV star Davide Tucci turned his 250 euro deposit to 483 euro “within three minutes” by using Bitcoin Revolution.
Malta’s financial watchdog was forced to put out a statement denying ‘Bitcoin Revolution’ was licensed in its jurisdiction.
Micky readers concerned
One reader contacted Micky saying he’d been inundated with emails and advertisements about the Bitcoin scams and was concerned they could catch the unwary.
“The reason I raise this is on weekend I had dinner with a major business person, very wealthy, smart, 50+ years old and he told me that if Twiggy Forrest is on Bitcoin Evolution then he (my friend) is going to invest millions,” he wrote.
“I was shocked! Normal people have no idea of these scams.”
Scams work despite easily Googled denials
This came more than a month after Australian mining billionaire Twiggy Forrest had put out a statement denying any involvement with the ‘Bitcoin scam.’
A simple Google search would have not only uncovered Forest denying any involvement, but the Australian Broadcasting Corporation saying the Forrest articles and plenty of other celeb endorsements purporting to be from the ABC website were faked.
“The scam ads are tagged as ABC articles, have pictures staged to look like ABC TV screenshots and include quotes under the headline “ABC NEWS exclusive.”
“We encourage our audience to exercise caution when reading social media advertisements and articles concerning cryptocurrencies which bear the ABC logo.”
$1.2 billion lost to crypto scams and theft in first quarter
CipherTrace estimates that $1.2 billion was lost in the first quarter of 2019 to crypto thefts, scams and fraud. That’s not far off the $1.7 billion lost across all of 2018.
Astonishingly, the scammers are even targeting those researching whether a site is fraudulent. A Google search for ‘Bitcoin scams’ brings up google ad word promotions for ‘Bitcoin | Turn $250 Into a Daily Income’ with the words: ‘I’ve hit over $9,200 in profit after just a month’.
It links directly through to the fake ABC news report about Twiggy Forrest’s success with Bitcoin.
Scams play on newbies who see crypto as a black box
The prevalence of shonky get rich quick scams promising astronomical rates of return are a a sure sign the Bitcoin bull market is back.
It’s a global problem. Reported cryptocurrency scams more than tripled in the UK this year according the Financial Conduct Authority, which specifically warned about scammers using fake celebrity endorsements on social media.
The average person lost $18,500 and the $34 million lost in total is probably just the tip of the iceberg as many people are too embarrassed, or can’t see the point in reporting.
In March the FCA published a survey that found 73 percent of UK consumers don’t know what a cryptocurrency is or are unable to define it.
However newbies do know people can make a lot of money out of it, and that’s how they fall victim to scammers.
CoinMetro CEO says it’s just like FOREX
Kevin Murcko, CEO at crypto exchange CoinMetro, commented that: “Criminals follow the money, and this report from the FCA shows they are taking advantage of consumers’ lack of understanding about crypto assets. If you’ve heard about Bitcoin on the news but don’t know how to invest, you might be tempted by the offers.”
“The same scams have been operating in forex, long before cryptocurrencies hit the headlines … this is the same old fraudulent activity but in a new guise.
“The key message for investors is to always do your own research, and if an investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Searching for Bitcoin Revolution and scam or Bitcoin Revolution and ‘review’ throws up endless pages of faked reviews and YouTube videos purporting to show it is 100% legitmate, like this one:
Most scams are a version of the Bitconnect ponzi scheme, where they promise extraordinarily high returns and actually deliver them to the first people who get on board.
The trick is they pay these “returns” out of the money paid into the scheme as more and more people get on board. Eventually these ponzi and pyramid schemes collapse.
In late May the SEC obtained an emergency order to shut the South Florida based Argyle Coin, alleging it is just a $30 million Ponzi scheme.
And earlier this week Indian Police uncovered a multi million crypto scam, involving former Bitconnect Asia head Divyesh Darji.
He was selling investors on a ‘robotic trading algorithm’ connected to a currency called Regal Coin which lured investors in with promises that $2 invested in a single coin now would return $100.
Incredibly enough, there are even scams ABOUT scams.
You may have seen the acres of publicity scammers got for setting up a website announcing Bitconnect 2.0 – the resurrection of the famed ponzi scheme.
That appears to have been just a way to get traffic to affiliate marketing ads at Bitconnect.io – to hopefully make money out of clicks on their Binance and Leger Nano referral links.