Technology

Thu, 30 Aug, 2018Basmah Qazi

“It’s a scam”: Carrie Bickmore warns of face cream hoax on Facebook

“It’s a scam”: Carrie Bickmore warns of face cream hoax on Facebook

Social media site Facebook has been criticised for failing to act against a scam that has ripped off Australian’s all around the nation – including The Project host Carrie Bickmore.

The Gold Logie award winner was the latest victim in the elaborate hoax where scammers had claimed that she had been forced to leave The Project to focus on selling face cream.

It was only after Ms Bickmore was targeted that the social media website decided to investigate the scam further.

Legal experts say that Facebook should have acted sooner, as the criminals have repeatedly billed victims for months.

The social network could be held legally responsible for their lack of action against the hoax and for the defamation of high profile Australian media personalities.

Other celebrities affected were Lisa Wilkinson, Delta Goodrem, Sonia Kruger, Jackie O and newsreader Deborah Knight, who shared her experience on Facebook last month as the fake articles were damaging her reputation.

The most recent scam falsely claimed that Ms Bickmore was “the victim of restructuring” at Channel Ten and would now invest “more time into her beauty business.”

But Ms Bickmore took to Instagram to warn fans and said, “do not click on the link to purchase the product – it’s a scam and they will take your money.”

Earlier this year, similar scams went around with one claiming The Block’s co-host Sherry Craft had breached her contract with Channel 9, and another saying that Sonia Kruger had been fired.

A spokesman from Facebook told The Daily Telegraph that the ad featuring Ms Bickmore was removed after countless users reported it, and the account behind the scam had been “disabled.”

“We do not allow adverts that are misleading or false on Facebook, and we removed several adverts that violated our advertising policy,” he said.

“We encourage anyone who sees an advert that they believe infringes an individual’s rights to report it, so the content can be reviewed and removed by our teams.”

But for many who ordered the advertised products, the warning came too late, as victims claim they’ve been charged up to $525 after they ordered “free samples.”

“I got done on one of these scams when they used Lisa Wilkinson,” said one victim. “I usually am so careful, but they tricked me into a ‘sample,’ pay on postage, and it cost me $480.”

After launching an investigation, News Corp contacted a call centre operator and claimed that the hoax was a US based operation and was responsible for billing “customers” $US131 every two weeks until told to stop.

Cove Legal principal and media lawyer Roger Blow said that these scams have become such a regular occurrence that it was Facebooks “responsibility” to shut them down.

“This is part of a commercial enterprise, they’re doing this regularly, and Facebook should, in my view, have people investigate how they’re getting access, what accounts they’re using, and from now on properly scrutinising these ads before they get out,” he said.

“They owe it to the community who is getting scammed and they owe it to the celebrity.”

Mr Blow also highlighted the avenues affected celebrities could take to resolve the issue, including misleading and deceptive conduct, using a celebrity’s image without consent and defamation.

“Facebook makes a lot of money and this is the kind of space where they should be investing more of their money to provide better levels of protection.”

Have you or anyone you know been affected by the hoax? Let us know in the comments below.

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