Karl and Waleed used in Facebook bitcoin scam
FACEBOOK is profiting from scammers who are using photos of TV presenters Karl Stefanovic and Waleed Aly to promote a Bitcoin trading scam which has been ripping off users around the world for more than a year.
The scam first surfaced in 2017 when crooks began capitalising on the sudden increase in Bitcoin prices by using fake testimonies of billionaires Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Elon Musk to dupe investors.
After creating fake Facebook pages they pay the social media giant to promote posts in order to maximise views.
Facebook has been unable to stop the scammers with algorithms. Yesterday, the company promoted a fake news post and fake testimony from Stefanovic for Bitcoin Trader.
A sponsored post which was designed to look like a news report on an interview from The Project read: "The Project co-host Waleed Aly was left in disbelief as Stefanovic pulled out his phone and showed viewers how much money he's making through this new money-making program that now has everyone in Australia whispering."
The scammers then fabricated quotes from Mr Stefanovic to demonstrate how much money the former Today Show host had made from cryptocurrencies.
"It's the single biggest opportunity I've seen in my entire lifetime to build a small fortune fast," the ad falsely quotes Mr Stefanovic as saying.
"I urge everyone to check this out before the banks shut it down."
The scam encourages victims to invest "at least $250" and "guarantees" tenfold returns within weeks.
Billionaire owner of Virgin Group Richard Branson has spoken out against the ads previously and Facebook has copped criticism for failing to tackle the issue.
UK economist Martin Lewis was locked in a legal battle with Facebook for almost a year because it failed to stop scammers using his photo in more than 1000 adverts. The financial blogger settled with the social media giant in January on the condition they donated $5.5 million to a scam watch website.
Facebook's guidelines say it does not allow "deceptive, false, or misleading content, including deceptive claims, offers, or business practices".
However, when the ad was reported to Facebook by The Daily Telegraph the report was rejected with the platform saying the advert was acceptable. Facebook has previously said the company was working on a way to combat the ads.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said fake celebrity endorsement scams rose by 400 per cent in 2018.