The scam is always the same: a post appears in the user’s news feed, email, or advertising on various websites. It’s about a celebrity and looks like an editorial article.
For example, “Germany is shocked by what she said” can be read next to a picture of the singer Yvonne Catterfeld on Facebook. She made it into the “daily topics” with this news (see picture above left).
However, the whole thing is not a genuine article but an advertisement disguised as a message. If you click on it, you end up on a website in the style of a well-known news portal (see, for example, top right).
Bitcoin Fraud: Alleged Loophole
The websites then lure the operators with quick riches: “Yvonne Catterfeld’s latest investment has worried experts and made big banks tremble”. Allegedly, Catterfeld has discovered a “capital loophole” that makes anyone a millionaire in a few months – with the trading of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Several paragraphs then report how easy it would be on a specific financial platform. For this, complete interviews with celebrities are invented, or the author gives the impression that he has subjected the platform to a practical text – of course, with fantastic results.
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The goal: The reader should click on a link to the advertised platform and register there, with their name, email, and sometimes also their telephone number.
The platforms are BitcoinFuture, BitcoinCode, or Bitcoin Circuit – and should sound like quick money. However, there should hardly be any actual bitcoins on the portals.
Bitcoin Fraud: Nothing Going On Without Moss
COMPUTER BILD has registered with one of the alleged financial portals. First of all, nothing can be done about it. Unless you deposit 250 euros: “You can now start trading with complete confidence”, pop-up lures.
Next, the money should be sent by credit card; only then would the portal be “activated”. Finally, some victims should send a copy of their identity card after the money, SWR reported.
But even when they complied with this request, the portal was not “activated”, – which is why the money could not be retrieved.
Second Scam: Product Tests as a Subscription Trap
Anyone who has fallen for it can try to charge the money back through their credit card provider. However, the fake portals now have the user’s credit card details and could strike again. The rip-offs also lure with allegedly sensational products.
“Pharmacy giants outraged by Herbert Grönemeyer’s CBD oil,” it says, for example. The tour is working internationally. In the USA, it is running with country icon Willie Nelson.
Users should test the products at a preferential price and pay by credit card. In doing so, they unintentionally acquire a subscription, and the credit card is then debited monthly. Many of those affected could only stop this by canceling the credit card provided.
Fake Article: The Makers Remain Hidden
In addition to Yvonne Catterfeld and Herbert Grönemeyer, the scammers also go on the prowl with Dieter Bohlen, Thomas Gottschalk, Lena Meyer-Landrut and Günther Jauch. In doing so, they shamelessly exploit the trust that many people have in well-known personalities.
“Can something be bad if Günther Jauch does it?” Some people might think. The celebrities know about the lousy scam and warn on social networks. But at least since the spring of 2019, the scammers have continued unabated.
Because it is almost impossible to find those responsible for the websites, you will be redirected to several portals if you click on one of the advertising links. They are registered with companies in the Caribbean and are practically unattainable from a legal point of view.
Bitcoin Scams: How to Protect You
So stay suspicious on the internet. Before you buy anything or transfer money, check the website carefully. Google the name and look for reviews on sites like Trustedshops.de. Don’t rely on seals that appear on websites: often, this is just a stolen image file.
Anyone who clicks on the BILD or ARD logo on one of the fake pages will immediately notice the fake: Instead of going to the ARD home page, for example, the user ends up on the website of the advertised product.
It is no wonder that the fake articles appear in spam emails – or via advertising networks on various websites. However, they also end up on social networks like Facebook, although strict advertising rules.
Facebook: No Ads for Cryptocurrency
The social network claims to check every advertisement before it appears, including the linked website. Facebook bans some content entirely. Currently, the banned list contains more than 30 items, including “misleading claims” and “cryptocurrency-related products.
“Shouldn’t the fake articles be noticed immediately? The fakers cover up their activities very cleverly. The ads usually do not contain the full name of the celebrity, nor do they have keywords such as “Bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency”. So the ads for Facebook are hard to find. In addition, the fakers spread the advertising through rented accounts.
Especially in the USA, a domain like “FB-renters.com” pays users monthly to rent their private Facebook accounts. They create an advertising profile on these accounts. If one account is negative, they move on to the next one – and thus always remain hidden.