Scams impersonating The Sydney Morning Herald surface

Nine Entertainment Co has criticised Facebook after a fake advertisement impersonating the media company’s masthead The Sydney Morning Herald surfaced on the social media website promoting a fake iPhone giveaway.

The Facebook post, which came from a scam page falsely claiming to be the Herald, claimed an Apple warehouse had caught fire and the popular technology company had given away “more than 2369 undamaged iPhones across Australia”.

Scam advertisements posted on Facebook have impersonated news organisations, such as The Sydney Morning Herald.
Scam advertisements posted on Facebook have impersonated news organisations, such as The Sydney Morning Herald.Credit:Shutterstock

The NZ Herald was hit by a similar fake article started by Russian scammers in November. This also involved cloning the news organisation’s website to try and get victims to provide credit card details and PIN numbers through advertisements for $1 iPhones. The scam had also claimed there was a giveaway after a fire and directed users to a fake Apple site.

Nine-owned New Zealand news website Stuff was the subject of a scam in 2015, with a webpage created imitating the website promoting an article headlined “How Kiwis Are Getting The Brand New iPhone 6s For Just $1”.


A Nine spokesman said the media organisation “consistently report fake ads on Facebook that misuse our news brands or on-air talent”.

“So far we have had only very limited success in getting the platform to crack down on these scams,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The fake ads look remarkably similar to posts from the real the Herald Facebook page but there are a few key differences – real Facebook posts by the Herald are made through a verified account which is signposted by a small blue tick next to the title and the website address in the ad is not a address.

Nine reported the iPhone giveaway scam to Facebook this week and has previously criticised the social media behemoth for failing to act quickly enough to stop fake ads impersonating on-air talent like Eddie McGuire, Georgie Gardner, Shelley Craft and Deborah Knight.

Scam advertisements were one of the issues investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission during its inquiry into the social media and search giants, with the final report warning this type of exploitation was rapidly increasing. The government has agreed to the consumer watchdog’s recommendation for a digital services ombudsman and will start a pilot program to handle a range of user complaints, including from those affected by online scams.

A Facebook spokesman said that these scams were not allowed on the social media and site and were removed when the business became aware of the posts.

“In this instance, we’ve removed several pages and associated ad accounts from our platform for violating our policies,” he said.

“We take strong action to ensure the integrity of our platforms, which means not just suspending and deleting accounts, pages, and ads, but also taking legal action against those responsible for violating our rules.”

Facebook filed a lawsuit in California this month against a Hong Kong-based company and two individuals for running deceptive advertisements promoting counterfeit products and diet pills.

The spokesman said new detection models had been built to help find similar scam advertisements and reports made by users helped improve these systems.

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Source: Thanks