Peter Jones, Bitcoin and Dodgy Crypto Scams
When you read that Peter Jones endorses a Bitcoin scheme, it could spark your interest. But take care, the Dragons' Den star is among celebrities whose names and images have been used without their knowledge in crypto scams.
Due to being unregulated and with much attention on it, the crypto market is the go-to place for scammers to lay their traps and lure unsuspecting victims into financial ruin.
What do scammers need to fool someone? The promise of quick, easy, or free money backed by false reviews or false promises from socially respectable and trustworthy people. What better way to gain someone's trust than by faking a celebrity endorsement to promote a scam?
This article delves into what to look for while traversing the crypto markets.
A popular scam back in 2018 saw many UK celebrities featured in fake articles, including Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden from the entrepreneur show 'Dragons Den', Alan Sugar from 'The Apprentice', and even the notorious Simon Cowell. The way this scam works is that a third-party website advertises a story of said celebrity making huge gains from a Bitcoin scheme, with a clickbait photo of the celebrity. One article had a picture of Deborah Meaden with a black eye to get the unsuspecting viewer to click on it. Another just needed to put the words 'Peter Jones Bitcoin' together.
The clickbait picture soon becomes irrelevant. The article explains how the star, such as Peter Jones, apparently recently took an interest in a scheme and, at the bottom of the page, there is a link to join the scheme. It is advertised as an exclusive deal which is soon closing to new members. The site then has you enter your name, email address, and phone number. Time passes, and then you get a phone call from a scammer playing the role of an 'investment manager' who encourages you to make a reserved investment of a couple of hundred pounds in exchange for some Bitcoin. Once you make the payment, you are sent an email with a fake trading platform site where your supposedly bought Bitcoins are held.
Later, you check your account on the platform to see that your £200 has now doubled or even tripled. Your 'investment manager' is persuading you to buy more. You tell them you're thinking of taking some of your money out, and he sends you 40% of your initial investment, creating a false sense of security and legitimacy. You feel reassured and continue sending money. But when you ask to withdraw again, you are met with silence from the supposed manager, who has now disappeared with your money.
212 Reported Celebrity Endorsement Fraud Cases in 2019
Which? obtained police data regarding cryptocurrency scams in 2019. In the first six months, there were 212 reported cases of fraud where the scammer had used a celebrity endorsement to trick them. Although the celebrity isn't at fault here, their reputation gets tarnished by these people impersonating them.
Always question and be sceptical of people with grandiose claims, as, more often than not, they are trying to gain your trust to pull one over on you. One rule that applies heavily to the crypto markets; if it is sounding too good to be true, it usually is.
Author: Fin MacGregor
I first found crypto through a YouTube video back in 2018, since then I have delved head first into the space, researching different DeFi Protocols and coins. I love crypto because it opens up the doors of financial freedom to anyone who spends the time to learn.