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Russian Facebook hit with fake Telegram token ads using Pavel Durov’s face

Quelle surprise

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When new crypto or digital currency projects are announced it doesn’t take long for scams to follow. It appears that Telegram’s supposedly incoming TON token is the latest to be exploited by opportunistic scammers.

According to Russian news outlet Kommersant, fraudsters are using the face of Telegram founder Pavel Durov to push fake TON investment opportunities.

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Credit: Kommersant
Fake TON advert

The advert appears to be a sponsored post made under a page called “Successful Investor.” On clicking the post, users are redirected to a website that imitates the appearance of Russian news site, RBC.

Kommersant says the imitation website displays what looks to be an investigative article from RBC, which contains links to another website that promotes the fraudulent investment opportunity.

The second website asks users to input personal data including email addresses and phone numbers. Once registered, the site promises that users will earn 10 to 15 thousand rubles ($150 to $240) per day.

While that might sound conservative (for a scam at least) nothing can promise guaranteed return on investment.

The domain of the fake websites were allegedly registered at the end of August 2019. Seemingly it comes in time to take advantage of Telegram’s TON sale pegged for fall this year. In reality though, many questions remain over how this will happen and what the fall out will be.

One report from the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute speculated that the Telegram token would further enable terrorist organizations. This is based on the institute’s discovery that many terrorist organizations are using Telegram and cryptocurrency as fundraising tools.

This case, of scammers using Durov’s face and a genuinely fake news website, should hardly come as surprising. Facebook has been awash with adverts for fake cryptocurrencies in recent years. The Big F was even used by scammers promoting sales of clearly fake Libra tokens.

Published September 20, 2019 — 12:25 UTC