In a blog on Thursday, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson warned his readers against a cryptocurrency scam that is using his name and photos to lure victims.
I have written several times warning people about the growing problem of fake stories online linking me to get-rich-quick schemes, fake pages, misleading ads, false endorsements and fake binary trading schemes,
– Branson says in the blog. He continued,
While I have often commented on the potential benefits of genuine bitcoin developments, I absolutely do not endorse these fake bitcoin stories,
Branson has been at the forefront in promotion of Bitcoin and blockchain technology and in a 2013 blog post he wrote that it was about time that Virgin Atlantic began accepting Bitcoin to pay for flights. As a fan of the technology and the democratized, openly competitive market it would bring, he nonetheless hoped for a modicum of regulation in what is already a field prone to scams.
However, the latest warning is not so much about the technology or its use, but in particular about his name being attached to marketing materials to attract attention from unsuspecting public.
Branson specifically singled out one scam – Bitcoin Trader – which poses as a CNN Tech article, complete with the outlet’s logo and formatting – if not its copy-editing. “560 Thousand British Quit Their Jobs After Richard Branson Invests Heavily In New Bitcoin Financial Tech.” the headline reads, and the fake article is falsely attributed to a real CNN tech writer.
Cryptocurrency Scams on the Rise
In the recent past, different celebrities and public figures have made announcements about different crypto-based scams, faking their endorsements.
In April, British consumer rights advocate and television star Martin Lewis sued Facebook for allowing fraudulent advertising showing his likeness and fake quotes on its platform.
Elon Musk and Bill Gates have also been forced to come clear about their involvement with cryptocurrency after fake adverts and news emerging that the two are endorsing different crypto-based scams. Elon Musk recently had to explain to his Twitter followers that he has never traded any Bitcoin and only owns 0.25 of the world’s most famous cryptocurrency.
The rising scam cases have also forced government authorities to intervene and different social media platforms have announced plans to ban all crypto-based ads from their networks.
As Branson advises, it is important for everyone to remain vigilant. One way stay away from scammers is through clicking through to legitimate sites, with official website addresses and verified social media accounts. Also, ensure that tech articles purporting to endorse different schemes come from a trusted news source.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos
What do you think is the best way to stop crypto based scammers from using public figures’ names and photos to lure in unsuspecting victims? Let us know in the comments section.