A major Bitcoin (BTC) advertising scam is believed to use unauthorized photos of Australian celebrities who appear to have promoted fake investment plans to have originated in Russia, according to a new report.

The bitcoin scams, which use Australian celebrities like Dick Smith and Andrew Forest, are part of a global regulated company that uses at least five addresses in Moscow, according to an investigation by The Guardian.

On December 13th, The Guardian released a report describing a major bitcoin ad fraud that has been occurring on news sites since at least 2018. As previously reported, the scam involved fake articles that used photos of unauthorized celebrities to advertise fake investment schemes. And they steal money. The Guardian itself fell victim to the plot when the news agency mistakenly showed some of these fake ads.

According to the latest report, The Guardian Australia has found five names of people who registered hundreds of fake websites “all with addresses in central Moscow”. The news agency reported that Google has launched an investigation as two email addresses have been linked to Gmail accounts.

The Guardian notes that there is other information indicating that the fake scheme may also have links to Ukraine, citing a March 2020 report from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). An OCCRP investigation revealed that a call center using similar Bitcoin scams operating out of Kiev.

In March 2020, an informant announced the existence of a crypto scam operating from Ukraine. The 200-employee scheme primarily targets investors in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and has promoted fake news articles using celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay, Hugh Jackman and Martin Lewis. The scheme reportedly grossed $ 70 million in 2019.

Source: CoinTelegraph