Facebook cryptocurrency scams offering to sell Libra for bitcoin plague social network

By August 13, 2019 Bitcoin Business
Click here to view original web page at www.independent.co.uk
An image from one of the Facebook Libra scam pages on the social network

Facebook cryptocurrency scams offering to sell Libra for bitcoin plague social network

An image from one of the Facebook Libra scam pages on the social network

Facebook pages claiming to sell the Libra cryptocurrency are proliferating across the social network, despite the firm's digital currency still being months away from launch.

Several groups and pages seen by The Independent offer visitors the opportunity to buy, sell and trade Libra, usually in exchange for other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Some of the groups have several hundred members and have been active since before Facebook officially announced Libra on 17 June.

The pages provide links to official-looking websites, as well as email addresses through which to enquire about purchasing Libra using a credit or debit card. Facebook warned that the cryptocurrency is not yet available to buy and that any site or page offering to sell it is a hoax.

A spokesperson for Libra said they were aware of the scam pages and were working with Facebook to take them down. Facebook told The Independent: “Facebook removes ads and pages that violate our policies when we become aware of them, and we are constantly working to improve detection of scams on our platforms.”

Despite their detection systems, some of the pages were being advertised across Facebook, meaning the social network was receiving money from the scammers.

Created with Sketch. Facebook birthday: 15 defining moments for the social network

Show all 15 Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch. Facebook is born Winklevoss twins sue Zuckerberg

Created with Sketch. Facebook birthday: 15 defining moments for the social network

1/15 Facebook is born

On 4 Feb, 2004, 19-year-old Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched a website called 'TheFacebook' from his dorm. Within 24 hours the college social network had more than 1,000 users Wikimedia Commons

2/15 Winklevoss twins sue Zuckerberg

Within one week of launching, fellow Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea. It would be four years later when the resulting lawsuit was finally settled

3/15 Open for business

The social network finally opened it platform to everyone on 26 September, 2006. The move proved the catalyst in supercharging the site's already explosive growth PA

4/15 Billion-dollar bid

Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in September 2006 but Zuckerberg turned it down. 'I don’t know what I could do with the money,' Zuckerberg reportedly said. 'I’d just start another social networking site' Reuters

5/15 In the money

In September 2009, almost five years since the site launched, Facebook turned a profit for the first time Getty Images/iStockphoto

6/15 Taking the lead

Facebook overtook MySpace in 2010 to become the world’s most popular social network

7/15 Taking on the tech giants

In 2011, Google launched its own social network that it hoped would knock Facebook from its perch. Despite its initial success, Google+ ultimately failed and will be shut down completely in 2019 Getty

8/15 Facebook goes public

On 18 May, 2012, Facebook went public. The initial public offering raised $16 billion – the third largest in US history

9/15 Gobbling up the competition

Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion, consolidating its position as the world's leading social network Reuters

10/15 One billion users

On 4 October, 2012, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit 1 billion users. 'If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honour of serving you,' he wrote in a blog post Getty Images

11/15 Expanding its empire

In February 2014 Facebook acquired the messaging app WhatsApp for $19.3 billion REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

12/15 Two billion users

In June 2017, Facebook passed the 2 billion user milestone REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

13/15 Privacy scandal

On 17 March 2018, news broke that UK firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from around 87 million Facebook users for the purpose of political profiling in the build up to the 2016 US presidential elections Shutterstock

14/15 Record profits

Despite the scandals and subsequent #DeleteFacebook campaign, Facebook posted record profits just before its 15th anniversary, the equivalent of $7.37 from each of its 2.32 billions users iStock/Independent

15/15 Unhappy users

A study found that people are happier when they don’t use Facebook, adding to mounting evidence surrounding the impact social media has on mental health Rex Features

1/15 Facebook is born

On 4 Feb, 2004, 19-year-old Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched a website called 'TheFacebook' from his dorm. Within 24 hours the college social network had more than 1,000 users Wikimedia Commons

2/15 Winklevoss twins sue Zuckerberg

Within one week of launching, fellow Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea. It would be four years later when the resulting lawsuit was finally settled

3/15 Open for business

The social network finally opened it platform to everyone on 26 September, 2006. The move proved the catalyst in supercharging the site's already explosive growth PA

4/15 Billion-dollar bid

Yahoo offered $1 billion to buy Facebook in September 2006 but Zuckerberg turned it down. 'I don’t know what I could do with the money,' Zuckerberg reportedly said. 'I’d just start another social networking site' Reuters

5/15 In the money

In September 2009, almost five years since the site launched, Facebook turned a profit for the first time Getty Images/iStockphoto

6/15 Taking the lead

Facebook overtook MySpace in 2010 to become the world’s most popular social network

7/15 Taking on the tech giants

In 2011, Google launched its own social network that it hoped would knock Facebook from its perch. Despite its initial success, Google+ ultimately failed and will be shut down completely in 2019 Getty

8/15 Facebook goes public

On 18 May, 2012, Facebook went public. The initial public offering raised $16 billion – the third largest in US history

9/15 Gobbling up the competition

Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion, consolidating its position as the world's leading social network Reuters

10/15 One billion users

On 4 October, 2012, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit 1 billion users. 'If you’re reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honour of serving you,' he wrote in a blog post Getty Images

11/15 Expanding its empire

In February 2014 Facebook acquired the messaging app WhatsApp for $19.3 billion REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

12/15 Two billion users

In June 2017, Facebook passed the 2 billion user milestone REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

13/15 Privacy scandal

On 17 March 2018, news broke that UK firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from around 87 million Facebook users for the purpose of political profiling in the build up to the 2016 US presidential elections Shutterstock

14/15 Record profits

Despite the scandals and subsequent #DeleteFacebook campaign, Facebook posted record profits just before its 15th anniversary, the equivalent of $7.37 from each of its 2.32 billions users iStock/Independent

15/15 Unhappy users

A study found that people are happier when they don’t use Facebook, adding to mounting evidence surrounding the impact social media has on mental health Rex Features

It is not the first instance that cyber criminals have sought to profit from the newly-announced cryptocurrency, with security researchers from Digital Shadows uncovering more than 100 web domains relating to Libra and its associated digital wallet Calibra in June.

Similar to the Facebook scam pages, the websites use the logos and fonts associated with the Libra cryptocurrency in order to convince visitors that they are legitimate.

Scams have plagued the nascent cryptocurrency industry in recent years, with cyber criminals seeking to exploit victims hoping to make a quick profit despite having little understanding of how digital tokens work.

Libra scams were one of the main concerns raised by US lawmakers when Libra boss David Marcus appeared before Congress in July.

In response to the Libra scam pages proliferating across Facebook, security experts have issued advice on how to avoid being duped by cyber criminals.

“As with any online transaction, particularly those involving large amounts of cash or cryptocurrency, individuals should be aware of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidelines on financial advice,” Carl Wearn, head of e-crime for cloud computing firm Mimecast, told The Independent.

“That can be done by looking at the Financial Services Register on the FCA website. In this instance, would-be investors should ask themselves: Are you sufficiently satisfied that if there are issues with your investment there is recourse to a regulatory system and a return of at least some of your money?”

He added: “Always consider opportunities that promise an investment return with the following in mind – if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.”

An image from one of the Facebook Libra scam pages on the social network Facebook pages claiming […]

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