Online scams are a huge problem in many industries and the emerging Bitcoin space is no exception.
Last week, CoinCorner was the target of an aggressive phishing scam on Facebook, with fraudsters creating more than 100 new business pages claiming to be the Bitcoin exchange and tagging genuine followers/friends/family of the company in misleading posts. With the same content used in each post, affected users were told that they had won a Bitcoin “bonus” and needed to follow a link to claim it.
This has since been resolved and customers are no longer at risk thanks to the host websites’ having removed the site after CoinCorner’s team reported it. However, the situation has caused frustration due to the lack of support from Facebook in addressing the issue.
In handling the issue, CoinCorner reported the fraudulent pages, made a public announcement and responded to as many individual posts as possible, asking users to ignore the posts and avoid clicking any links. Additionally, the phishing trail was identified and reported to the infrastructure companies – Bitly and 000webhost – being used to host the website and consequently taken down within 24-48 hours. Bitly has since issued a suspicious link warning, while 000WebHost “deleted the site” – making the scam inactive and ensuring consumers are protected.
Aside from taking these actions, there is unfortunately very little else available in terms of support from Facebook when dealing with scams.
Danny Scott, CoinCorner CEO, commented, “Our team has been working to report all the fraudulent accounts over the last couple of weeks and has successfully had the main scam website taken down, however, nothing appears to have been done by Facebook to remove the fake company pages and we’ve had no response from them at all during this process.
Trust and credibility has long been an issue in the cryptocurrency industry – something that we at CoinCorner have been working hard to build over our 6+ years in the space – so it’s incredibly frustrating when something like this happens.
The longer these fake accounts are left up, the more damaging potential they have – for unsuspecting people who fall victim to these scams and also to our reputation as a business. The likes of Facebook and Twitter need to do more to prevent cryptocurrency scams.”
One week on, all of the fake CoinCorner pages remain live on Facebook (although no further new posts have been made since).
Ironically, Facebook continues to uphold a stringent ban (introduced in January 2018) which makes it difficult for legitimate Bitcoin businesses to advertise on the platform without jumping through numerous hurdles, yet it has no stringent processes in place to catch fraudulent pages as they are being created or resolve the aftermath. Facebook now requires legitimate businesses to become pre-approved advertisers, an option that the CoinCorner team applied for at the time of the revision but has not received feedback for.
Alongside Facebook scams, Danny has personally been the target of multiple Twitter scams this year. Many fake Twitter profiles have been created to impersonate Danny (and other genuine figures in the Bitcoin industry), some asking for payment in return for return for investment “advice” – these can mislead Twitter users, add confusion to the industry and have the potential to cause reputational damage to those being impersonated.
Overall, scams are a big challenge facing legitimate people and businesses operating in the Bitcoin industry. Scammers are active across all online platforms, from social networking sites to search engines like Google. For example, CoinCorner was the target of a fake Google Adwords phishing scam in April 2020 too.
It is crucial that consumers be aware that scammers are doing whatever they can to conduct fraudulent activities and to research the authenticity of online pages/posts, as well as claims that sound too good to be true. Any customers and users who are concerned about suspicious activity relating to CoinCorner can contact https://www.coincorner.com/ContactUs.”