BuzzFeed News: People Are Renting Out Their Facebook Accounts In Exchange For Cash And Free Laptops. “The rental economy for Facebook accounts is yet another example of how people attempt to exploit the platform’s ad system in order to avoid bans and conceal who is really behind a campaign. With a rented account, a person can create a new page and quickly begin running ads. And even if Facebook eventually blocks those ads and bans the account, an ad launderer can move to another rented account and start over — without Facebook or anyone else knowing who they are.” This is not new, unfortunately. I wrote about a weird Craigslist ad almost three years ago.
Mashable: Elaborate Instagram scam bilks influencers after luring them to Jakarta. “A scam is making the rounds in the Instagram influencer and photography community, and it’s so elaborate that you can understand why people fell for it. Someone purporting to be Wendi Deng Murdoch, the former wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is fleecing thousands of dollars from hundreds of unsuspecting Instagram influencers and photographers.”
The Verge: Luxury loot box sponsorships are tearing YouTube apart. “Some of YouTube’s biggest channels are facing backlash from both viewers and other YouTube creators after promoting a form of loot box-style gambling with a company called Mystery Brand. Both Jake Paul and Brian ‘RiceGum’ Le have run sponsored videos promoting Mystery Brand — a $100,000 offer that other YouTube creators said they’ve also received and turned down.”
The Atlantic: When a Sponsored Facebook Post Doesn’t Pay Off. “After rising to MySpace fame in the mid-aughts, the singer-songwriter Kaila Yu amassed a following of nearly half a million fans on Facebook and 70,000 on Twitter and Instagram. Like all ‘influencers’—people who leverage a social-media following to influence others—Yu now makes her living monetizing her audience with branded content, promoting products and events through sponsored posts.”
Wired: The Year of the Scammer: It’s Not Just Con Artists Anymore. “In one configuration (Charles Ponzi) or another (online phishing emails from so-called Nigerian officials), getting over on other people has endured since the earliest days of the American experiment. Its pop imprint, though—as a label, a lifestyle, a celebrated art—didn’t take shape until recently. Meme-propagating social media platforms were crucial in transmuting scamming from crime to entertainment genre: made-for-Instagram personas like Joanne the Scammer popularized and romanticized such cunning acts of deception on Instagram and Twitter.”
Cointelegraph: Researchers Find Thousands of Crypto Pump-and-Dump Groups on Messaging Apps. “There are thousands of pump-and-dump groups on popular messaging apps, a study conducted by the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) revealed Dec. 18. Pump-and-dump is the fraudulent practice of perpetrators encouraging unwitting investors to buy an asset to inflate its price artificially, and then selling it when the price gets high enough.”
The Hindu: Google Maps loophole: 60-yr-old loses ₹97,000. “A senior citizen lost ₹97,000 from his pension account last month after scamsters put up their own contact number in place of the contact details of the Bank of India’s Vikhroli branch on Google Maps. The Powai police have filed an FIR and launched a probe. The Hindu had reported in November how scamsters had taken advantage of a loophole on Google Maps, where an establishment’s contact details can be edited by anyone and customers calling the number are convinced to reveal sensitive bank details.” ₹97,000 is a little over $1350 USD. Also in today’s India media, the case of a lady who lost Rs 1 Lakh — just over $1400 USD — due to a similar Google Maps scam.