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New Celebrity Crypto Scam Takes the Spotlight

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Cryptocurrency investment scams are as rampant as there are legitimate investment opportunities as well. However, even more, prominent are those who try to be innovative and feign celebrity endorsement. The latest on the list of these scam artists is an attempt by scammers to take advantage of mainstream news platforms to push their fake investment platform. economicsworld[dot]info, the dedicated website for the “Bitcoin Profit” scam has done some groundwork, getting celebrities to drive potential clients in.

Amongst the endorsements, the suite includes testimonies from people such as Kate Winslet, a popular actress, and Andrew Forrest, an Australian business mogul. Bitcoin Profit, however, goes even further, using Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson to promote itself as well. Every celebrity has a feature on the platform with their photograph, as well as a balance sheet containing alleged investments and the potential returns.

The balance sheets seem to be rather identical. However, the scammers claim that an investment of $10,394 worth of Bitcoin will yield $421,226 in returns within just a week. That’s an ROI of about 4,110 percent.

“It wasn’t me”

Some of the alleged celebrity investors have already hit back. Winslet, who was informed about the scam by British news medium Mirror, complained to the media company that she has no hand in the investment scheme. “This misleading promotion is completely disingenuous and categorically false. We are dealing with this through the appropriate channels,” the publication quoted a spokesperson as saying.

Celebrities and cryptocurrencies: a retrospective

The trend of scammers using celebrities to promote their fake investment schemes combines two significant factors; the ignorance on cryptocurrencies on the part of prospective investors, and the raw influence that these celebrities have.
Using celebrities provides an additional aura of legitimacy, thus making it much easier for investors (particularly, those who don’t understand how cryptocurrencies work) to fall victim to the scams.

However, this isn’t to say that some celebrities haven’t done their bit of cryptocurrency and ICO promotion. Back in September, popular TV star and heiress Paris Hilton promoted a crypto asset known as Lydian on Twitter.

In a now-deleted tweet, Hilton wrote, “Looking forward to participating in the new @LydianCoinLtd Token! #ThisIsNotAnAd #CryptoCurrency #BitCoin #ETH #BlockChain.” We all know how that asset turned out; it never saw the light of day, and its chief executive was also accused of domestic abuse.

Steven Seagal, another popular actor, became the brand ambassador for “Bitcoiin,” a crypto asset which was just a letter skewed from the original thing. In March 2018, regulators in New Jersey sent a cease-and-desist letter to the founders of Bitcoiin, saying that the asset was never registered as a security in the state.

So far, regulators have done their bit as well, with the Securities and Exchange Commission releasing a letter urging the public to be careful about celebrity-backed ICOs in 2017 as well. However, this hasn’t stopped scammers from trying their luck. In a world where crypto-assets continue to be profitable, and scammers are consistently desperate, it is more important than ever to be careful.

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