Investment ad scam featuring billionaire Peter Lim makes its rounds

A scam ad featuring billionaire Peter Lim has been spotted on a Carousell listing that promotes a “new secret investment” endorsed by the billionaire.

On a news report by The Straits Times, it said the listing included screenshots of a fake article on its platform and included other logos of other Singapore Press Holdings’ publications such as The New Paper and The Business Times under “as seen on”.

Mediacorp’s TODAY, and Singapore Business Review‘s logos are also featured. SPH has declined to comment on the matter.

In the article, Lim allegedly spoke to Hello Singapore host Lin Youyi on the investment opportunity, which was said to leave “experts in awe and big banks terrified”. A search by Marketing found that the listing appeared to have been taken down.

In a statement to Marketing, a Carousell spokesperson said that the platform has been proactively blocking such ads, and maintaining its own set of blacklisted URLs.

“We have investigated and found that the ads featuring Peter Lim on the Carousell marketplace were a result of one of our third-party ad platforms inadvertently surfacing it. The advertiser has been coming up with different domains and ways to circumvent our detection,” she added.

Since the incident, Carousell has stopped all activity from the platform with immediate effect and is following up with the relevant people to ensure all ads comply with laws and regulations. Placing trust and safety as a “top priority”, Carousell rallies users to report any suspicious ads on its platform to help it investigate and take action quicker.

This is not the first time investment scams were executed in Lim’s name. He had previously also filed several police reports about such cases on fake Facebook accounts, said ST.

Other high-profile personalities have also been exploited in get-rich-quick schemes in the past. In 2016, AirAsia issued a statement to stress that its group CEO Tony Fernandes did not endorse advertisements on social media that reveal his secret of making as much as US$300 per day from home.

In the age of fake news, such scams are not new and brands are not spared either. For example, Singapore Airlines warned customers earlier in January of a fake website offering free air tickets in return for personal details, while in Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines was accused of running controversial out-of-home advertisements in a series of superimposed images and PROTON spotted a fake invitation card circulating on social media on the official launch of the PROTON X70.

Industry players Marketing spoke to said phishing scams not only impact consumers, they are also detrimental to consumer trust and loyalty, which ultimately can gravely impact the bottom line of businesses.

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