At Ripple, our company’s foundation is built on trust and transparency. We embrace these values in every decision we make, whether that is sharing the quarterly XRP Markets Reports or calling for industry-wide regulatory clarity. To further build on these principles, we see a dire need—now, more than ever—to protect consumers around the world from dangerous online giveaway scams and false impersonations across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more.
Today, we are taking legal action against YouTube to prompt an industry wide-behavior change and set the expectation of accountability.
This lawsuit calls on the video platform to do a number of things. First, to be more aggressive and proactive in identifying these scams, before they’re posted. Second, faster removal of these scams once they are identified and lastly, to not profit from these scams.
“Giveaway scam” is an industry term that relates to attempts to defraud money from unassuming consumers via social media impersonation, by convincing people that if they send money, they will receive more funds in return—typically through airdrop. These scams accurately impersonate individuals and companies, and are often spread through fake social media profiles.
In these times, it’s terrible enough that people are worried about losing their lives and livelihoods. Adding to this are the scams that seem to be everywhere. To bring awareness to this issue, we published a how-to guide for spotting and protecting yourself from online digital asset giveaway scams.
Now, though, there is an increasing threat with an influx of COVID-19 online scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released COVID-19 scam reports, by the numbers. This alarming publication shares that, as of January 1, consumers reported financial losses of over $13M to COVID-19 related fraud. Enough is enough.
Misinformation affects everyone and we can’t be complacent about it anymore. In a nascent industry, such as crypto and blockchain, scams and giveaways only impede the industry’s innovation and progress.
In response to the numerous XRP-specific giveaway scams and impersonations, Ripple hired an external cybersecurity and digital threat intelligence vendor to help with reporting and takedown efforts, in addition to building our own submission form for the community to report unusual activity.
There are also individuals and teams across the XRP community like XRP Forensics, now part of xrplorer.com, who are powering the analysis of possible scam transactions and tracking stolen funds on the XRP Ledger as well as monitoring for scam social posts in real-time. They are making it possible for wallets, exchanges and other participants in the XRP Ledger ecosystem to automatically check whether a wallet is associated with such scams, protecting users in real-time.
Even with all of this incredible work across the XRP community, these efforts, unfortunately, are not enough to fight the egregious amount of scams out there.
For every scam, giveaway, fake conspiracy that is taken down, multiple more pop up nearly immediately. The reality is that big technology and media companies need to take responsibility and be held accountable for protecting consumers.
This is a call to action.
It’s time to end this unacceptable behavior and protect our friends, family members and consumers everywhere. YouTube and other big technology and social media platforms must be held accountable for not implementing sufficient processes for fighting these scams.
We are here for our community and for everyone, everywhere. Please stay safe, stay healthy and know that actions are being taken to protect you.
Joseph Spezzano received a Masters Degree in computer science from The University of Massachusetts. Joseph has been working as a full-time blockchain programmer for the past 5 years. In his spare time, Joseph enjoys writing for CryptocurrencyInvestments.com and traveling.