Virgin Group founder and renowned investor Richard Branson has expressed his concern at the growing number of scams involving Bitcoin that steal his likeness to promote fraudulent activities.
In a post written by Branson on Virgin’s official blog on Thursday, he condemned the scammers for taking advantage of his praise of Bitcoin, and its potential to shake up the international financial system.
Branson wrote: “Some of the most regular and worrying fake stories currently spreading online are false endorsements of Bitcoin trading schemes. While I have often commented on the potential benefits of genuine Bitcoin developments, I absolutely do not endorse these fake Bitcoin stories.”
The scams in question will frequently involve fake news stories that erroneously claim Branson has either endorsed or invested in a specific cryptocurrency, product, or company.
Such as the above example spotted by CCN, where the article indicates the publishing source as Yahoo. Upon closer look, however, the domain that it directs users to is entirely unrelated.
Similar scams include BitcoinTrader, an example singled out by Branson in the blog post. As reported by CoinDesk, one particular advertisement of this scam poses as a CNN Tech article, complete with a replication of the outlet’s logo and formatting.
While the BitcoinTrader scam is certainly more sophisticated than the above example shared on Twitter, these scams tend to target prospective investors that are less tech-savvy, utilizing the language of ‘get rich quick’ schemes.
Branson noted Virgin’s legal team has been required to deal with hundreds of such fraudulent impersonations online. The company has pressured social media platforms to be more vigilant in recognizing and removing fake stories.
The blog post reads: ”We also contact the social networks where the fake stories are being spread and urge them to take the stories down and do more to proactively stop them appearing in the first place.”