Counterfeit scams thrive on Facebook and Insta—FTC

Cryptocurrency scammers love social networks, especially Meta platforms. The Federal Trade Commission says hundreds of millions of dollars were scammed by US consumers in 2021 (and these are just the scams the FTC is aware of).

And the problem is growing incredibly fast– with no trace of a solution in sight. Meta claims to be “tacking it down”, but we’ve probably all experienced reports of Facebook and Instagram scams being ignored or closed without action. But why expect anything different? Meta makes money from all fraudulent advertisements and “engagement”.

Of course, some say all cryptocurrencies, NFTs and DeFi are scams. In today’s SB Blogwatch, we couldn’t comment.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these blog bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Nothingverse.

Imaginary money enriches Zuckerberg

What is craic? Sarah Perez reports—“US consumers lost $770 million to social media scams in 2021, 18 times more than in 2017”:

A large majority… involves cryptocurrency
A growing number of American consumers are being scammed on social media. …That number has also increased 18-fold… said the FTC, as new types of scams involving cryptocurrency and online shopping have become more popular. It has also led many young consumers to be scammed.

Facebook and Instagram were where most of these social media scams took place. … More than half (54%) of investment scams in 2021 started with social media platforms, where scammers promoted fake investment opportunities or directly connected with people to encourage them to invest. … A vast majority of investment scams now involve cryptocurrency.

Why is this important? Sara Fischer and Margaret Harding McGill tell us—“Crypto Drives Massive Increase in Online Scams”:

Fake investment sites
Cryptocurrency is an easy target because although it is growing in popularity, there is still a lot of confusion about how it works. …One type of crypto scam reported to the agency involves someone bragging about their own success to drive people to fake investment sites.

“We have dedicated significant resources to combating this type of fraud and abuse,” a spokesperson for…Meta said. “We are also going beyond suspending and deleting accounts, pages and ads. We take legal action against those responsible when we can and always encourage people to report this behavior when they see it.

Horse mouth? Meet Emma Fletcher from the FTC—“Social media is a gold mine for scammers”:

Urgent need of money
Social media is also increasingly where scammers go to scam us. More than one in four people who said they lost money to fraud in 2021 said it started on social media with an advertisement, post or message.

For scammers, there’s a lot to love about social media. It’s an inexpensive way to reach billions of people. [It] is a tool for scammers in investment scams, especially those involving fake cryptocurrency investments – an area that has seen a massive increase. …People send money, often cryptocurrency, on promises of huge returns, but end up empty-handed.

If you receive a message from a friend about an opportunity or an urgent need for money, call them. Their account may have been hacked, especially if they ask you to pay by cryptocurrency, gift card or bank transfer. …To learn more about how to spot, avoid and report scams and how to get money back if you’ve paid a scammer, visit ftc.gov/scams.

Who would fall for such scams? King_TJ hate to admit it:

Facebook is complicit
I hate to admit it, but I fell for one of these Facebook scams myself. It was probably about a year ago. I encountered a “seller” in one of the ads scrolling through my feed. … Many comments have been posted, ranging from other people being interested in one, to claims that they got one and liked it.

After a little while…the tracking information showed the package was delivered, but I never received anything at all. …When I started to dig deeper into Facebook after that, I realized that the scammers … were actually running dozens of ads for various products, giving almost identical web URLs, except one letter had been changed in their name. Reported the original ad… to Facebook, but… received no response.

That’s when I realized that Facebook was complicit in all of this, in the sense that they get a lot of ad revenue from these scams. …It’s better for them to close their eyes and just pull one out when a user specifically complains about it.

Is Facebook complicit? Carrie Goldberg—@cagoldberglaw– put it more bluntly:

Platforms love scams because user engagement is so high from all accounts they create, post, and message; not to mention the panicked use by the victims.

What’s the latest imaginary money scam? Animation offers this example:

Transfer money from suction cups to coin acceptors
What was once the biggest NFT, Axie Infinity, has come crashing down. Today, for the first time, their Smooth Love Potion token fell below a penny. … The peak was around $0.36 last summer. It’s the one that all those people in the Philippines were playing a hard game to win and paying around US$1,000 up front to get into the game. [It] combined the worst features of a gig economy, multi-level marketing and a Ponzi scheme.

The big deal is that NFTs are… mostly closed zero-sum systems for transferring money from suckers to coin mechanisms. … What sustains this house of cards is the success of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether. We now have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in memes. People therefore think that investing in new memes is a real business. The history of financial scams suggests that is not the case.

What could go wrong?

Social media? arglebargle_xiv suggest a different word:

Scammers have realized that… sites like Fecebook are absolutely great for, well, social engineering. It’s the perfect tool for scammers and scammers, you put in all the data they need to get you on the social engineering site, or you join groups that identify you as the perfect target… connecting you to people who want to scam you.

Is the emperor naked? johanneskanybal think like this:

Half of YouTube comments on any investment video are scams, half of tweets promoted on Twitter are scams, half of Facebook ads are some type of scam. Imagine if a traditional newspaper published just one and what consequences it would face.

During this time, quonset has little sympathy:

At this point, if people are so enamored with anti-social media that they give up any semblance of common sense, they deserve what they get.

Yes, I blame the victim. It’s one of the few times I do.

And finally:

Nothingverse: Memory of a Future Kingdom (the movie)

Previously in And finally


Have you read SB Blogwatch through Richi Jennings. Richi curates the best blogs, the best forums, and the weirdest websites…so you don’t have to. Hate messages may be directed to @RiCHi Where [email protected]. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE. 30.

Sauce picture: DonkeyHotey (cc: by; leveled and cropped)

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