Crypto Scammers Defraud UAE Residents Using Fake Crown Prince Endorsement
Adding to the number of false schemes and scams in the cryptocurrency space, a scheme reportedly run from Argentina and Ukraine has been outed for falsely claiming their investment product was endorsed by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, guaranteeing to “make you rich in seven days”, as reported by The National, June 30, 2019.
Another Fraud Bites the Dust
UAE Residents have been issued a warning on the matter of a fraudulent investment scheme that tricks investors with a false endorsement from Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince. The scheme had a page on Facebook, which was subsequently removed by the social media giant. The minimum buy into the scheme was AED 1000, but the kicker was the guarantee to make investors rich within seven days.
The scheme claimed to make exorbitant profits through trading bitcoin (BTC) and managed to rope in over a thousand participants. To add to the misery, investors offered personal information regarding their identity and address, opening them up to a much larger risk than losing money.
It was spread across the country using promotional posts that directed Facebook users to the fake story of the Crown Prince’s endorsement, appearing in the news feeds of unsolicited UAE residents. The post also fabricated a quote by the Prince, claiming this was his way of giving back to the people. The Abu Dhabi government once again warned all residents to be diligent and not fall victim to shoddily designed schemes by scam artists.
This news comes merely a day after First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) launched an app to promote the government’s agenda of increasing the scope of digital payments within the country. The UAE conducts 75 percent of all transactions using cash, prompting the government to improve efforts to harbor a digital economy.
Facebook as a Catalyst
Many people believe Facebook acts as a major catalyst for such schemes reaching the general public. An Indian national residing in Abu Dhabi fell prey to this scheme and believes Facebook simply pushes out ads without any prior check.
Facebook hasn’t exactly kept its cryptocurrency ad policies consistent, previously was initially backpedaled a ban to allow for ads pertaining to crypto, and then completely removed off their website since they enforced a ban. However, it is possible that this ad was just for the post/article that highlighted the Crown Prince’s endorsement and didn’t explicitly mention Bitcoin in the advertisement. It was also reported by BTCManager that Facebook had softened their crackdown on cryptocurrency due to the launch of Libra.