Police Warn Again Of Fake Ads On Social Media

May 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Bermuda Police Service [BPS] has issued another warning to residents about fake social media adverts that use the likeness of local public figures and mimic local news outlet designs.

A police spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Police Service [BPS] reminds residents to be wary of fake social media adverts promising quick financial gains or other offers that sound too good to be true. Often such social media posts or direct messages use the likeness of local public personalities and copy the design of local news outlets, to make their offerings look more legitimate. Many of these fraudulent social media adverts appear as sponsored posts.

“Here are some quick ways to tell if an enticing social media post or direct message is suspicious:

  • Spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • The link used for more information does not match the website expected and connects to a different webpage.

“Once again, members of the public are urged not to divulge personal information or send any money to unknown persons that randomly make contact over the internet.

“To report a cyber-crime, please call 211 or use the BPS online community reporting portal: https://portal.police.bm/.”

To add — and this is not part of the official police statement it is a note from Bernews — our news site appearance is one of the ones being copied, and subsequently advertised on overseas websites, such as the U.S. based Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

This is not the first time this has occurred and we find this to be extremely frustrating, as not only has our brand has been copied to attempt to scam people but these overseas websites repeatedly accept advertising money [sponsored posts] to promote these scams. We are highly annoyed by this, and attempting to deal with it is quite laborious.

If a website being advertised on social media websites appears to look like ours, when you visit the website please always look at the top to make sure you’re on the correct website, our URL is Bernews.com, these fake websites use a variety of web addresses/URLs. The fake site will generally only include the fake page, if you attempt click around and find more news, it does not have our entire website, which at this stage encompasses more than 150,000 pages.

In addition please note, the likelihood of any local politician making a major announcement about some ‘great financial offer’ via a paid ad on an overseas website is next to none, and we advise ignoring all paid sponsored posts on social media about a ‘financial offer’ that attempt to mimic our brand.

Fake advertisements on overseas social media sites are an extreme issue, and according to the US based FTC, reported losses to fraud that started on social media were approximately $1.4 billion last year, and “more money was reported lost to fraud starting on social media than any other contact method in 2021, 2022, and 2023.”

The FTC said that in 2023, “51% of reports about fraud starting on social media identified Facebook as the social media platform, and 22% identified Instagram. ”

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