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Resources mogul sues Facebook to stop imposter’s bitcoin ‘scam’

Andrew Forrest
Andrew Forrest

An iron ore magnate took legal action against a social media company for allegedly failing to shut down an identity thief’s unlawful activity.

Andrew Forrest accused Meta Platforms of not doing enough to stop an imposter from misusing his identity to swindle Facebook users of their money.

The Fortescue Metals Group chairman claims someone has impersonated him to advertise Bitcoin cryptocurrency opportunities to random people since 2019. However, no genuine Bitcoins were allegedly delivered after customers paid, resulting in financial loss for each victim.

Forrest suspects Meta’s inaction might have breached federal anti-money laundering laws.

Federal Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has allowed the case to proceed under the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Forrest said this is the first time the accused company ever faced international criminal charges at the Magistrates Court of Western Australia. A civil case has also been filed against the same company in California, the United States.

“I am doing this because I am concerned about innocent Australians being scammed through clickbait advertising on social media,” he said according to the Australian Associated Press.

“This action is being taken on behalf of those everyday Australians – mums and dads, grans and grandads – who work all their lives to gather their savings and to ensure those savings are not swindled away by scammers. I am acting here for Australians, but this is happening all over the world.”

The remarks came more than two years after the magnate sent an open letter, asking Meta founding CEO Mark Zuckerberg to remove the imposter account in question.

“Social media is part of our lives but it is in the public interest for more to be done to ensure fraud on social media platforms is eliminated or significantly reduced,” Forrest said according to the newswire agency.

An initial hearing is scheduled for 28 March 2022.

Anyone who suspects they might have fallen victim to a scam should contact the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network or Scamwatch by phoning 1300 795 995 or visiting www.scamwatch.gov.au

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