'Last Chance' Ad
Our journey with this crypto scam began with this ad: "5 CRYPTO COINS THAT WILL 10X IN 2022 (Last Chance)."
This appeared to be the same scam being managed by the same people whom we previously uncovered weeks earlier on another Facebook page named Tina's Finance. Both pages promised an investment opportunity in bitcoin or some other kind of cryptocurrency. Neither are real companies.
How the Crypto Scam Works
Our detailed reporting on the Tina's Finance crypto scam documented what the scammers say in order to draw money out of potential victims.
Basically, Facebook users will see paid advertising on the social media platform that describes a supposed crypto investment opportunity. Next, clicking the ad will open up a Messenger window where users are advised to use Messenger to contact a specific Facebook account to get the ball rolling on the purported investment opportunity.
One account came up in our initial Messenger conversations with both Tina's Finance and Andy Wealth: a user purportedly named "Alex Scott." This tipped us off that this was the same scam being operated on a new page.
The final step of the scam involves being invited into a group conversation on Messenger. In this group conversation, a person called a "teacher" will advise where to send money that they claimed would be invested.
In the case of Tina's Finance, users who were being scammed were advised to download a mobile app named "MetaEx" or "MetaEXC." This app was not available on the Google Play Store and needed to be downloaded directly from a website. While there are plenty of apps that are safe that are not available on the Google Play Store, our research indicated that "MetaEx" and "MetaEXC" should be avoided. In fact, we recommend avoiding any apps that claim to allow functionality for cryptocurrency exchanges or investments if they are not available on Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store, unless a careful study of the app showed that it was legitimate.
Victims Speak Out
In the comments under the ad for the Andy Wealth Facebook page, a user left a comment and said he was scammed. He pleaded with others: "Don't believe it. I lost all my money with that scammer. Fake. Cheating." We contacted the user for more information and will update this story should we receive a response.
Similarly, we also previously chatted on Messenger with another user who said he lost money in the same scam on the Tina's Finance Facebook page. He told us he lost around $800 in USDT, a currency that’s also known as Tether.
As of March 14, Tina's Finance was still available on Facebook. Meanwhile, the Andy Wealth Facebook page was created nine days earlier, another red flag.
We contacted Meta's media relations team and will update this story if we receive a response, or if we notice that the page or associated accounts are removed.
“Tether (USDT).” Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tether-usdt.asp.