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ACCC Calls On Google, Facebook To Crackdown On Fake-Ad Scams

 The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has called on Google, Facebook and Instagram to do more to crackdown on fake ads to prevent scammers reaching potential victims.

It says Australians are increasingly being caught out by so-called “celebrity endorsement scams”, with reports to the ACCC’s Scamwatch reporting station up by 400 percent and losses increasing 3800 percent so far in 2018.

According to Scamwatch: “These scams often appear as online advertisements or promotional stories on social media or a seemingly legitimate, trustworthy Web site. They include fictitious quotes and doctored or out-of-context images of the celebrity, such as presenters from the TV show Shark Tank, promoting a product such as skin care creams, weight loss pills, or investment schemes.”

The scam works by consumers signing up for a “free trial” for a product. And – you guess it – as part of this process, they have to provide their credit card details.

Says ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard: “The growth in these scams is very concerning, particularly as over half the reports we received included a financial loss. Most people lost between $100 and $500 and in one case, a victim lost more than $50,000 through fake celebrity endorsement of an investment scheme.”

She added: “Most of the reports to Scamwatch involve these scam advertisements running on Google ad banners or as ads in Facebook’s news feeds. These tech giants must do more to quickly suspend the ads.”

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