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Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic, Cybercriminals Lure Verified Facebook, Instagram Users With $1,500 per week in Disguise of Spreading Awareness

Facebook and Instagram have banned ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks on their platforms to stop people from exploiting the coronavirus emergency

Cybercriminals are luring verified Facebook and Instagram users in disguise of spreading awareness about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), offering them $1,500 per week via a global email fraud.

IANS got access to such emails shared by verified Facebook users, that came from ‘health organisations’, offering money to advertise their awareness content on coronavirus on their verified handles on social media platforms like Facebook.

“World Health Organisation (WHO) is fighting against CORONA VIRUS. We want you help us through social media. We are willing to do advertisements on your Facebook page,for awareness peoples and save humans lives,” read an email that came from some obscure health organization.

The sender approached the verified Facebook user with conditions such as publishing 1 content per day, “we will pay you $1500 per week,” payment terms like PayPal, Western Union, payoneer, or any other way you can ask us”.

Terms and condition included Facebook verification to join website and add page to publish contents. “Assign any admin in publishing tool who can publish our contents every day for 4 weeks but you can stop any time you want,” said the sender.

According to Manan Shah, Founder and CEO of Mumbai-based Avalance Global Solutions, this is an ongoing email scam and several verified Facebook users are falling for it. “I think Facebook and Instagram, apart from temporarily banning face mask commerce listings and ads related to coronavirus, must also address this email fraud that is happening in the disguise of WHO to spread awareness,” Shah told IANS.

Facebook and Instagram have banned ads and commerce listings selling medical face masks on their platforms to stop people from exploiting the coronavirus emergency.

Facebook said that coronavirus-related searches on its platform would be greeted with an automatic pop-up featuring information from the WHO.

hackers
Cybercriminals are luring verified Facebook and Instagram users in disguise of spreading awareness about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), offering them $1,500 per week via a global email fraud. Pixabay

The company said it will no longer allow people to search for COVID-19 related AR effects on Instagram, unless they were developed in partnership with a recognized health organization. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is focused on stopping hoaxes and harmful misinformation.

“We’re removing false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations. We’re also blocking people from running ads that try to exploit the situation — for example, claiming that their product can cure the disease,” he said in a post last week.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 Has Caused a “Natural State of Disaster”: South Africa

According to Shah, Facebook can reach out to verified account holders, warning them not to fall for such email fraud. (IANS)

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