According to a recent report in the UK, Twitter has been profiting from ad dollars paid by scammers targeting UK citizens. The scammers have been promoting a Bitcoin scam on Twitter that uses the images of Akshay Ruparelia, who at 21, is the youngest millionaire in the UK.
Ruparelia Says His Image has Been Illegally Used
According to Akshay Ruparelia, his face has been used by scammers to promote a Bitcoin scam on Twitter. Besides that, he says that Twitter has been making money off those posts. Ruparelia is estimated to have a net worth of £16 million.
According to Ruparelia, at least two people have contacted him daily in the last month to check if the promoted tweets are true. Initially, he did not think much about the posts and he thought they would die off. However, he now says it is an incessant issue, which is not going away.
The young millionaire added that no one who had contacted him thus far had invested in the scam. He added that he had never invested in Bitcoin and the scammers were not connected to him in any way. For those who click on the link, they are sent to a page where Blix Group is listed. Blix Group is an Estonian broker that has been blacklisted by the FCA.
Setting up a Promoted Tweet is Easy
As long as you pay for it, Twitter allows anyone to set up a promoted post. There is no minimum cost but the more you spend the more people you can reach. The approval process on Twitter is automated and it is designed to filter out manipulated media crypto ads. It is thus unclear how the scammers managed to get their tweets through the approval process. Since Twitter was alerted to the posts, they have taken them down.
How the Scam Works
The scammers pay for ads that contain a fake article promoting Bitcoin. The article tells people that if they invest in the company, they could make profits of up to £1,200 daily trading crypto. According to the UK’s FCA, citizens lost around £27 million to scammers in 2018/2019. The financial watchdog estimated that each UK victim lost an average of £15,000.
It is not the first such scam. Scammers have targeted various people such as Prince Harry, Megan Merkel, and Wissam Al Mana. The scammers use their images to promote crypto scams on social media.
Seeking Legal Advice
Ruparelia is seeking legal advice on what action he can take. He is seeking to work with Lawyer Rory Lynch, who has handled a similar issue in the past. Mr. Lynch claimed that handling such an issue was tricky.
He noted that social media firms are legally protected since they act as an intermediary. Besides that, they have a solid legal defense if they take down posts once they have been notified. While there is a moral issue of Twitter benefiting from scams, the social media platform would argue it does not know who advertises on the platform. If one decided to take action against the scammer, you could find that they are located in another country. In such a case, the lawsuit could be complex and expensive.
Suing the scammers and Twitter is no doubt a valiant effort by Ruparelia. However, it is unlikely that it will stop scammers from targeting him. The best way to fight back against this is to put out information in the public domain informing the masses he is not part of the scam. Thus far, putting out true information seems to be the best weapon to fight against crypto scammers.
Image Source: Youtube Snapshot