- A crypto pump and dump scheme was caught using New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s image for promotion
- The images were used for Facebook ads promoting a fake news site
- The ads were reported to the Prime Minister’s office and have since been taken down
The act of pumping and dumping is currently an inescapable if ugly aspect of the blockchain industry and does not only make it dangerous for investors but also serves to discourage new investors from joining the market.
Pump-and-dump refers to a practice of currency developers buying their own currency in bulk to drive up the price and then selling it at an inflated price to unsuspecting investors.
Many tactics have been used to make the schemes look more legitimate in recent rims, such as copying the market movement of legitimate currencies and now, the use of public figures’ images seems to have been added to the list.
False news articles pushed on Facebook
A pump and dump scheme recently tried to drum up support for their scheme by publishing false news articles.
Their plan didn’t stop there as they paid for these articles to be promoted on Facebook and the promotion featured images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
They titled the articles featuring the Prime Minister things like ‘New investment plan for Kiwis’ and targeted the promotions to various groups of people in New Zealand.
The promotions linked to their site which peddled false news and tried to impersonate the CNN tech site. The site made outrageous claims such as the New Zealand Treasury Department buying a company called Bitcoin Revolution for $250 million.
The site then claimed, “This is where the future lies.”
This didn’t last long as the ads were reported to the Prime Minister’s office who then filed a complaint with Facebook who took the ads down.
While the situation was handled, it is far from an isolated incident. The Prime Minister’s office has said that Ardern’s image has been used in a large number of cryptocurrency ads and that it is becoming difficult to keep track of.
“We aren’t able to manually or digitally monitor the increasing volume of fake news that fraudulently uses images of the Prime Minister.”
A wider Problem
The use of social media for cryptocurrency promotion is a tricky subject. While some platforms, such as Google, are warming up to the idea of crypto ads, a good amount of fraud still takes place.
An example of this is a twitter handle impersonating Elon Musk which has been tweeting false cryptocurrency giveaways.