Business Magnate Alan Sugar Warns Against Fake Bitcoin Endorsements

  • Sir Alan Sugar has tweeted a warning agaisnt Bitcointrade, an allegedly fraudulent cryptocurrency investment scheme
  • According to Sugar, his lawyers are working on the case, but these scams need to end.

Sir Alan Sugar, a business magnate known for his remarks on the BBC TV series ‘The Apprentice’, has recently warned against bitcoin-related scams using his name, pretending he is endorsing an investment in the cryptocurrency with the organization.

The business magnate’s warning came through social media, where he claimed the scammers were “scum,” and asked his nearly 5.5 million followers to share the message, so no one would fall for their tricks.

Specifically, Sir Alan Sugar warned against Bitcointrader, an organization allegedly run by scammers who attempt to sell individuals cryptocurrencies, but merely take the money victims send over. When told to sue them, the business magnate revealed that his lawyers were “on the case trying to track them down and hand over to the police.”

In a follow-up tweet, he noted that a 74-year-old would-be investor fell for the scam, as it was using his image to imply endorsement. According to the tweet, the individual was tricked into registering on Bitcointrade through a misleading article, and then received a call from the scammers, who persuaded him to invest £250 ($337), while claiming they would call back.

Sugar advised the individual to call his credit card company to get the funds back, but the number of victims falling for similar scams is unknown. These reportedly mostly target old people, as these “think it is new way of making money and get sucked in because they show me [Sir Alan Sugar] and other people as endorsing it.”

According to the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting center, Action Fraud, in March consumers were tricked into sending cryptocurrency scammers a total of £34,000 (about $45,800) in 21 separate cases.

Notably, various other celebrities have seen their images used to promote fraudulent cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). Some of these celebrities include TV star Deborah Meaden, known for her role in the series Dragons’ Den, and Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis.

Lewis has in the past denounced these scams, and notably sued social media giant Facebook for failing to stop ads, which included get-rich-schemes, from using his face and name. At the time he said:

“Enough is enough. I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues. I feel sick each time I hear of another victim being conned because of trust they wrongly thought they were placing in me. One lady had over £100,000 taken from her.”

Martin Lewis

Notably, Facebook has decided to ban cryptocurrency and binary options-related ads earlier this year. The move saw Google, Twitter, and recently Microsoft’s search engine Bing follow its footsteps.

Hacked Exchange Cryptopia Enables Trading in 40 Different Currency Pairs

New Zealand-based digital asset exchange, Cryptopia has reportedly resumed trading on its exchange as it is now allowing 40 different trading pairs. This, after Cryptopia recently experienced from several different security breaches.

Support For Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin Pairs Added

Cryptopia’s management announced (via Twitter on March 18th) that it is planning to expand its list of coins which will again be supported on its trading platform. As noted on Cryptopia’s official support website, the exchange has enabled several different trading pairs (as of March 19th, 2019) with major cryptocurrencies. These include bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC), and dogecoin (DOGE).

In response to Cryptopia’s announcement, Twitter user @dgb-chilling, a supporter of DigiByte (DGB), a cryptocurrency that uses five different mining algorithms, said that he had emailed the exchange’s support team to inform them regarding the coin’s latest update (version 6.17.2). He added that “an upgrade was recommended but not mandatory.”

Meanwhile, Chuck Norris (@CryptoTweet6) remarked: 

Now this is good news! Let’s hope the rest of the coins will be released for trading swiftly.

Other users also considered it “good news” that the compromised cryptoasset exchange was gradually resuming its operations. However, one social media user asked when Cryptopia would start enabling deposits while another inquired about why his ARK coins were still not recoverable from the trading platform. He claimed that he had deposited 1,000 ARK, currently valued at around $628, (a popular proof-of-stake based coin) on Cryptopia. The user also complained that his coins were missing “missing because [the exchange] did not update the ARK wallet."

Tens Of Millions Of Dollars Stolen In Hack

On February 27th, 2019, Cryptopia’s management announced that it was “assessing the impact incurred as a result of the hack” which led to the theft of tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. Last month, Cryptopia’s support team had also estimated that the total loss incurred due to the security breaches was of around 10% of its total holdings (in the worst-case scenario).

Notably, the exchange’s official Twitter account had been silent for several weeks (since Feburary 14th). However, it released several announcements, starting in late February, in which it revealed that its staff members were working on securing each customer’s account individually. Cryptopia’s management also noted that it was taking the appropriate measures to ensure that its trading platform is secure when it is officially back online.