Fake Facebook ads difficult to control in Vietnam

The public, especially celebrities, can become the victims of impersonation used to boost sales of goods on social networks.

On October 18, 2020, an account under the name ‘Thuỷ Tiên’ (with question mark on 'y' instead of ‘u’ as commonly used by Vietnamese) was found running ads, calling on people to donate to help people in flood-stricken areas in the central region.

Fake Facebook ads difficult to control in Vietnam

An account under the name ‘Thuỷ Tiên’ was found running ads, calling on people to donate to help people in flood-stricken areas in the central region

Fake Facebook ads difficult to control in Vietnam

The public, especially celebrities, can become the victims of impersonation used to boost sales of goods on social networks.

On October 18, 2020, an account under the name ‘Thuỷ Tiên’ (with question mark on 'y' instead of ‘u’ as commonly used by Vietnamese) was found running ads, calling on people to donate to help people in flood-stricken areas in the central region.

Donors were told to transfer money into an account under the name ‘Le Thi Ngan’.

Thuy Tien is a famous pop singer in Vietnam. The fake account received VND100 billion from donors. Netizens discovered it was not the real account of Thuy Tien and advised people not to remit money into the account. The impersonation was discovered quickly.

In late July, the Vietnamese community of netizens was stirred up by the news that the official Facebook page of the famous Bosnian defender Branislav Ivanovic was appropriated by Vietnamese hackers who used livestreaming to sell clothes and fashion accessories.

A lot of celebrities, including Quang Hai (footballer), Son Tung M-TP (singer), Baroibeo and PewPew (streamers), also complained that their accounts were hacked.

Prior to that, the social network was flooded with ads in Vietnam demanding debt payments, exposing adulterers, and defaming celebrities and people.

 

Analysts said that hacking fanpages with blue checks (verified sites) is a ‘specialty’ which is seen only in Vietnam.

Facebook applies a mechanism which allows people to set up pages and run ads on pages very easily, without requirement of identity. Only when the US election season started did the social network tighten advertising activities around the globe, including Vietnam.

However, Vietnamese ‘marketing magicians’ have a lot of experience in dealing with similar Facebook campaigns, so they still ran the ads.

Facebook pages have been flooded with ads and livestreams to sell goods online from hacked foreign pages.

Running ads to cheat Facebookers under the name of singer Thuy Tien is easy to do. It is also easy to create bank accounts and create credit cards, which makes it more difficult to prevent scammers. In the case of impersonating Thuy Tien, the scammers might use false information.

“No one uses his real account if he runs ‘dirty ads’,” said Trung Hieu, a marketing expert on social network platforms.

Ad runners tend to use accounts obtained by hacking through VPN connections, so they are difficult to detect. 

Phuong Nguyen

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