Google fails to act against bitcoin scams using fake newspaper adverts, campaigners say

Frauds, investment fraud, Google, cryptocurrencies,  policies

Campaigners say they have reported fake cryptocurrency investment adverts to Google but no action has been taken (-)

Google has been accused of failing to act for months against cryptocurrency scams using fake articles purporting to be published by a national newspaper.

Campaigners said the search giant had not stopped fraudsters from advertising non-existent investments in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, despite repeated warnings about the scams.

One advert, which showed up at the top of the page when users search Google for investment-related queries, links to a fake Daily Mirror article, claiming to be an interview with Britain’s youngest millionaire detailing how he made his fortune.

The headline reads: “Brit shocked everyone by revealing the app which makes him £23k a month.” When users click though they are taken to a site which promises they can earn millions by using an algorithm that automatically trades crypto markets.

The ad uses a screenshot of Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby conducting an interview on This Morning.

Celebrity images are routinely being used by scammers to attempt to give unsuspecting consumers false reassurance that adverts can be trusted.

Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert, has issued warnings after his face was used in fake adverts on Facebook claiming to offer risky binary trading, PPI reclaim services and bitcoin.

BBC consumer finance journalist Paul Lewis tweeted last month that he had seen his face in fake news articles about cryptocurrencies which appeared on Yahoo search results.

He wrote: “I have never bought cryptocurrency and advise everyone against doing so. You can lose all your money.”

Mark Taber, a campaigner against online fraud, said he had repeatedly reported the Mirror fake scam to Google.

He has also reported hundreds of other scams to the Financial Conduct Authority so far this year but says the regulator has only acted to warn consumers in a small minority of cases and when it has done so it has acted to late.

“This fake Mirror article bitcoin scam using Holly Willoughby has been ever present on Google Ads for months,” Mr Taber said.

“I have reported it repeatedly but no effective action has been taken to stop it from reappearing time after time. This suggests Google is either unwilling or unable to enforce its own policies.”

Google said it had taken “appropriate action” against sites that had been reported to it, but did not specify what that action was in this case.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Google has always had strict policies around the type of content that is allowed to serve as ads on our platform. We quickly remove any ads that violate these policies.”

The companies which register web addresses for sites running the bitcoin scam adverts did, in some cases, take those sites down.

However, the same content was simply copied and pasted onto a new address. New domains can be registered anonymously within minutes, often with the same provider.

In July, the fake Mirror article was found on which was registered in March through Namecheap, a domain name provider.

When Mr Taber informed Namecheap that its service had been used by scammers, the company took the site down. It reappeared shortly afterwards on, also registered through Namecheap. The company also took down this website.

On Tuesday, the same scam was found next to Google search results for ‘compare high return investments’. it had been moved to a new web address registered through a different domain registration provider.

A spokesperson for Namecheap said that it was “completely false” to suggest that the company profited when its services were used by scammers.

“For context, last year we investigated over 1.2 million fraud cases.

“Out of all of these reported fraud cases, Namecheap was able to verify abuse for roughly 65,000 complaints. We found an additional 24,000 verified cases of abuse that we identified through our own internal proactive anti-fraud efforts.”

Namecheap recently allowed customers to pay for registering domain using cryptocurrency, which allows transactions to be kept anonymous.

Google says that it verifies the identity of advertisers on its platform who are promoting financial products but it declined to say whether it reported suspected scams to the police.

Mr Taber said the latest bitcoin scam as further evidence of the the need to ensure that the government cracks down on online advertising in the Online Safety Bill which is working its way through parliament.

The government has claimed that the bill will “lead the way in ensuring internet safety for all” but it does not include measures to protect millions of people from the growing threat of scams and fraud.

Police data shows that reports of investment frauds, where savers are convinced to put their money into high-risk or non-existent investments, have more than trebled in the past five years. Meanwhile, convictions are rare, with police forces complaining that their resources to investigate fraud are stretched.

Convictions under the Fraud Act slumped to their lowest level since 2007 last year with just one in 700 reported cases now being successfully prosecuted.

The number of convictions has fallen every year since 2011, from a peak of 9,095 to a low of 3,453 in 2020.

Debbie Barton, financial crime prevention expert at wealth manager Quilter, said the figures should ring alarm bells for government ministers.

“From dubious cryptocurrency and forex trading schemes to non-existent investment bonds, fraud lurks everywhere, particularly online and on social media.

“Yet instead of seeing an uptick in the number of fraud convictions to match the rapid increase in reports to Action Fraud, we’ve seen the opposite. Fraud convictions have dropped off a cliff since 2011 to reach levels not seen since the Act was first introduced.

Ms Barton and Mr Taber both argued that tech giants like Google and Facebook must take more legal responsibility for the advertising which generates most of their multi-billion-dollar profits.

“A good start to protect the public would be for the government to include further [typpes of fraud] in the Online Safety Bill so that technology companies have a legal duty to tackle harm caused on their sites, and have to take up the slack in monitoring the online world for scams.”

While a publisher of a newspaper is liable for the contents of adverts Google – which generates more money from advertising than any other company in the world – is currently not being held accountable in the same way.

The search giant argues that it is a platform, not a publisher, and so is not responsible in the same way.

News Related


Gold outlook: Precious metal likely to trade sideways to down in coming week; Fed's decision in focus

Gold prices declined for the third successive week to settle at Rs 46,000 per 10 gram on better-than-expected retail sales and steady growth in US manufacturing activities. The yellow metal ... Read more »

Kitex group increases investment in Telangana to Rs 2,400 crore, promises 22,000 jobs

Sabu Jacob, Chairman, Kitex Garments Kitex group of companies has increased its investment in Telangana to Rs 2,400 crore, up from an initial investment of Rs 1,000 crore announced in ... Read more »

KEC International to acquire EPC firm Spur Infra for enterprise value of Rs 62 crore

Representational image KEC International – an RPG Group company that is a global infrastructure Engineering, Procurement, and Construction major — has acquired an EPC company in the oil and gas ... Read more »

Airlines can now operate 85% of pre-Covid domestic flights: Aviation Ministry

Airlines can now operate a maximum of 85 percent of their pre-Covid domestic flights instead of the 72.5 percent allowed till date, the Ministry of Civil Aviation stated on Saturday. ... Read more »

COVID-19: Northern Ireland to scrap traffic light travel system as holiday bookings soar

Travel companies say they have seen a sharp surge in bookings after the UK government announced the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries would be scrapped for England on 4 October. Scotland and Wales are being more cautious. Read more »

Yes Bank-DHFL case: Rana Kapoor's wife, daughters remanded to judicial custody

Yes Bank (File image) A special CBI court in Mumbai on Saturday denied bail to the wife and two daughters of Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor in a quid-pro-quo case ... Read more »

Healing Space | Our children are struggling

Illustration by Suneesh K. Note to readers: Healing Space is a weekly series that helps you dive into your mental health and take charge of your wellbeing through practical DIY self-care methods. ... Read more »

Higher investment required in agri R&D: India says at G20 agriculture meet

India on Saturday stressed at G20 agriculture meeting that there is a need to increase investment in agricultural research and development amid the challenges of climate change and expected increase ... Read more »

Amarinder Singh: The man who put Congress back on saddle in Punjab

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh (Illustration: Moneycontrol) One of the strongest regional satraps of the Congress, Amarinder Singh was the leader who put the party back in the saddle in ... Read more »

The Tech Weekender: Top news from the world of technology this week

Apple had a major week with the launch of the new iPhone 13 series. The iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max arrive with ... Read more »

Plagued real estate giant Evergrande denounces managers for breaking rules

The company is demanding that the six pay back the money. In addition, the real estate developer wants to impose the six “severe fines”. The six senior executives had invested ... Read more »

British online supermarket has to stop supplying frozen products

It has a shortage of CO2, which is used to stun animals in the slaughterhouse, but also in the vacuum packaging of products and for making dry ice. The carbon ... Read more »

Navalny allies accuse Telegram of censorship in Russian election

1 / 3Navalny allies accuse Telegram of censorship in Russian electionSecond day of a three-day long vote in parliamentary elections in Moscow By Tom Balmforth MOSCOW (Reuters) – Allies of ... Read more »

Hong Kong's homebuyers defy banks' jitters in snapping up flats built by little-known developer in fourth straight sell-out weekend

Hong Kong’s homebuyers continued to pile into the residential property market, snapping up three of four flats on offer in two districts across the city, encouraged by an improving local ... Read more »

Evergrande says 6 executives redeemed investment products in advance

Six executives of China‘s heavily indebted Evergrande had redeemed some of the company’s investment products in advance earlier this year, the property group said on Saturday. Between May 1 and ... Read more »

Natural gas prices up over 4% this week

Natural gas prices climbed 4.05 percent this week to settle at Rs 379.90 per mmBtu on the MCX after scaling a new 52-week high to touch the highest level since ... Read more »

UK's energy firms hold talks with business secretary amid fears gas price spike could lead to winter fuel shortages

Sky News understands the business secretary talk with executives from Ofgem, Centrica, National Grid, Energy UK, Octopus, Ovo, SSE, EDF, Scottish Power, Shell Energy, E.ON, Bulb and SGN. It comes amid fears of food shortages. Read more »

Mumbai seems to have lost the aviation game completely

File photo of a Jet Airways airplane taking off in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Jet Airways, now a company of the Jalan Kalrock Consortium, plans to start operations in the first quarter ... Read more »

Indische Wettbewerbshüter werfen Google Marktmacht-Missbrauch vor

© Foto: Reuters/SANKALP PHARTIYAL Die Wettbewerbshüter in Indien werfen Google einem Untersuchungsbericht zufolge den Missbrauch seiner marktbeherrschenden Stellung mit seinem Betriebssystem Android vor. Der US-Internetriese habe seine “enorme Finanzkraft” genutzt, ... Read more »

Big Tech grapples with Russian internet crackdown during election

Big Tech companies’ human rights policies have been stress-tested in the run-up to Russian parliamentary elections, as the Kremlin cracks down on a broad range of content. Read more »

Extension of collective labor agreement for staff at Schiphol duty-free shops until April after strike

The trade union FNV reports this after consultation with the management of Schiphol Airport Retail (SAR), the company behind the See Buy Fly stores. The old collective labor agreement had ... Read more »

Cool,Cool,Cool. Noice: How millenials are aspiring and investing

You are, my fireMy one desireBelieve, when I say I want it that way While the pandemic has caused tons of stress and nothing but heartbreaks for a lot of ... Read more »

‘Watchdog India sounds the alarm about Google for abuse of market power'

That writes the Times of India newspaper, which saw the report. That report will be studied by the regulator, who will then determine whether Google will be fined. One-sided According ... Read more »

Former chancellor Lord Hammond in £300m takeover bid for government contractor Amey

Buckthorn, an investment firm where Lord Hammond is a partner, is one of a small number of bidders trying to buy Amey, the major government contractor, Sky News learns. Read more »

Blasts in Afghanistan's Jalalabad, Taliban vehicle targeted; at least 2 dead: Reports

File image of Taliban fighters in a vehicle (AFP photo) Multiple explosions were reported in Afghanistan‘s Jalalabad city on September 18, leading to the death of at least two persons, local media ... Read more »

FOMC meeting and other global cues will dominate market next week

Indian markets are outperforming its global peers this year. Last week was especially a stellar one where Nifty and Sensex hit their fresh all-time highs of 17,793 and 59,737, respectively. Meanwhile, ... Read more »

Shefali Juneja, first woman chief of UN's aviation security body, sees drones, cyberattacks as biggest threats

Shefali Juneja is the first woman to lead ICAO’s Aviation Security Committee. Shefali Juneja, a 1992-batch Indian Revenue Service officer, is the first woman to head the Aviation Security Committee ... Read more »

Why Washington regulators and policymakers are worried about stablecoins

By Jeanna Smialek Stablecoins might be the most ironically named innovation of the cryptocurrency era, at least in the eyes of many Washington regulators and policymakers. These digital currencies promise ... Read more »

Explained: Why World Bank is under fire over set of rankings

Representative Image (Reuters) Under fire for allegations that it bowed to pressure from China and other governments, the World Bank has dropped a popular report that ranked countries by how ... Read more »

Consumer spending revival slow Risks still weighted to the downside as economy starts to emerge from lockdown

Shoppers at Future Park Rangsit department store on Sept 7 after the CCSA’s easing of lockdown restrictions. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul) We forecast real household spending in Thailand to post growth of ... Read more »

India antitrust probe finds Google abused Android dominance, report shows

1 / 2India antitrust probe finds Google abused Android dominance, report showsFILE PHOTO: Google app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration By Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) – ... Read more »

Oposisi Kecewa Google dan Apple Tunduk ke Rusia Soal Aplikasi Alexei Navalny

© Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Aktivis sekaligus oposisi Pemerintah Rusia, Leonid Volkov, kecewa terhadap Apple dan Google perihal isu aplikasi pemilu Alexei Navalny yang dihapus dari ... Read more »

Shares of Bluebik Group skyrocket on first day

At the end of its first day of trade on the MAI, Bluebik Group posted a big gain. Shares of Bluebik Group, a local tech consulting firm, soared 66.7% above ... Read more »

Russia election: What is Navalny's Smart Voting app and why did Apple and Google bow to pressure?

The jailed Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny and his allies may not be running in the September 19 parliamentary election but they had hoped to challenge President Vladimir Putin's United ... Read more »

Don't ignore these 4 things while applying for initial public offerings

The initial public offering is a first-hand opportunity to grab the shares of a company at the first stage when it goes public. The major reason for investing in IPO ... Read more »

Commodities prices: Focus on central banks meetings next week

Commodities, at large, have traded mixed in the past few sessions as market players assess China’s economic health and the US Federal Reserve’s policy stance. Gold swayed along with the ... Read more »

Google dan Apple Hapus Aplikasi Voting Alexei Navalny di Rusia

© Copyright (c) 2016 TEMPO.CO foto TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Aplikasi pemungutan suara yang dibuat oleh tim Alexei Navalny dihapus dari Google dan Apple di Rusia. Aplikasi hilang tepat saat jajak ... Read more »

Hasil Kunjungan Menlu ke AS: Kerja Sama Soal Vaksin Hingga Google

© Kementerian Luar Negeri Kemlu Menteri Luar Negeri Retno Marsudirini melakukan kunjungan ke Los Angeles dan Huston, Amerika Serikat bersama Wakil Menteri Kesehatan Dante Saksono dan Wakil Menteri BUMN Pahala ... Read more »

Cloud customers want solutions, not infrastructure: Google Cloud India MD

Bengaluru: Cloud customers are no longer asking for servers and storage, they are looking for solutions to their problems, Bikram Singh Bedi, managing director of Google Cloud India, said in ... Read more »

Kremlin critic Navalny's allies blast Apple and Google for removal of opposition voting app

© Kirill Kudryavtsev, AFP Allies of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny accused Apple and Google of “censorship” on Friday after they removed an opposition voting app at the start of ... Read more »