New Zealand media outlet Stuff reported on 5 January 2019 that a fake news site released a crypto-related advertisement, pairing it together with a picture of the country’s former prime minister John Key.
The advertisement allegedly promoted Bitcoin by promoting an interview with John Key where he elaborates his passion for the cryptocurrency. It is not the first time the ex-prime minister was “utilised” in fake crypto ads. Back in late 2017, his picture was used in an ad where he was quoted saying he purchased $1000 worth of Bitcoin following the system and ended up with an investment return of $300 million after seven years. In December 2017, he denied all the rumours surrounding him being a Bitcoin investor.
The current ad is reportedly for a company called ‘Crypto Revolt’, which is supposedly a cloned scam site. The ad was also made to look like a Stuff business news page, having the words ‘NZ Times’ displayed at the top of the webpage instead of the Stuff logo. All the links showed on the web page led to Crypto Revolt’s website.
The source who discovered the ad revealed that the website’s addressed seemed suspicious and commented that the company had the possibility of being hacked itself.
The ad follows the pattern of previous fake crypto ads, where famous individuals and leaders are often quoted to be investors in certain cryptocurrencies. Examples of these individuals are people like Jacinda Ardern, the current New Zealand prime minister, and Hayley Holt, TVNZ presenter.
The country’s police force warned the public about scams similar to the reported ad back in September 2018 after a major crypto-related fraud case caused a Canterbury investor to lose a total of $320,000 NZD. A total of six crypto sites were also blacklisted by New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA) for online scam as of December 2018.