Con Artists Pretend To Be Abused Women To Sell Diet Pills
Twitter is currently infested with swindlers using stolen pictures of young women to set up fake accounts, and not for the typical catfishing of lonely dudes. Instead, these fake ladies attract lots of attention by writing long threads detailing bittersweet tales of overcoming abuse ... which then slowly transition into stealth ads for diet pills. One of the more egregious examples was the tale of "Ashley," a "woman" who got over 300,000 likes for a 32-tweet thread about a controlling ex (very relatable) who wanted her to eat lots of food (not so relatable), and how glad she then was to regain control of her life through magical tapeworm pills.
Ashleyeats/Twitter"He didn't even want me taking capsules full of sawdust and heavy laxatives, but I showed him! We can all show him!"
To add injury to insult, the skinny "thinspo" photos used by "Ashley" to prove the effectiveness of her snake oil were stolen from a cam model who at that time was struggling with anorexia and cocaine use -- which she was in danger of relapsing into after people mistakenly started harassing her over the scam posts. Twitter barely lifts a finger to punish these full-fat ghouls, often refusing to take down these threads until long after the damage has been done (and the ad money from all the engagement has been counted). And even then, these scammers just set up a hundred other new fake profiles, ready to inspire thousands of new young women into eating disorders.
Con Artists Create Fake Identities With The Same Name To Hide Their Crimes From Google Search
If you're from Philadelphia, you probably know Adrian Rubin, the esteemed climatologist who runs a website "combating pseudo-science and climate change denial." Or maybe you know Adrian Rubin, writer for the Philadelphia Weekly. Or what about Adrian Rubin the noted tech philanthropist? Or his favorite real estate agent, Adrian Rubin? No, Philadelphia isn't the global capital of Adrian Rubins. In fact, there's only one real Adrian Rubin in Philly, and he's currently doing time for running several payday loan and telemarketing scams.
But from prison, the real Rubin created and maintained several fake online identities, all also named Adrian Rubin. Through aggressive search engine optimization, these Rubins would pop up first whenever someone Googled that name, pushing all mention of the real Rubin's scummy exploits to the second page of search results. And since nobody ever visits that wasteland, this technique can effectively hide one's true identity and keep their reputation squeaky clean. (Since this story emerged, the true Rubin has been pushed back to the top of the search results.)
This was also the tactic used by infamous fraudster Ian Leaf, who stole $50 million from UK taxpayers, then escaped across the Alps on foot to extradition-resistant Switzerland. There are dozens of British newspaper articles that expose his name and his crimes, but for a time, in order to get to those, you'd have to skip past several pages about "Ian Leaf," a writer who's very active on Twitter, Medium, and LinkedIn. Ingeniously, Leaf made his SEO cloak a "fraud expert," which took care of any Google searches that included both "Ian Leaf" and "fraud" (which are most of them).