Dick Smith threatens legal action over crypto scam
Dick Smith has threatened legal action against a media outlet after it published ads that promoted a story which falsely claimed the Australian entrepreneur had endorsed cryptocurrency investment.
The ads appeared on The Guardian and on the professional pilots' rumour network pprune.org, and use Mr Smith's image to promote the purchase of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, The Australian reports.
Those who clicked on the ads were redirected to a web page that appeared to be legitimate news article. It included fabricated quotes that said Mr Smith endorsed investing in cryptocurrencies.
The story also linked to faked cryptocurrency websites believed to be operated by a criminal syndicate.
"Mr Smith is determined to ensure the cryptocurrency scam promptly comes to a permanent end," wrote lawyer Mark O'Brien in a letter to The Guardian editor Lenore Taylor, according to The Australian.
"While we acknowledge that The Guardian Australia does take the fraudulent advertisements down once notified, that does not prevent your Australian readers from falling victim to this prolific cryptocurrency scam."
Mr O'Brien said Mr Smith demanded The Guardian make immediate changes to prevent its algorithms from publishing the fraudulent ads in the future.
"If we do not receive a satisfactory response within 14 days of the date of this letter, our instructions are to commence defamation proceedings against The Guardian Australia and its related entities," Mr O'Brien said.
It's understood The Guardian's UK owner has escalated the issue to Google after its Australian outlet's efforts to block the ads were unsuccessful.
Originally published as Dick Smith threatens legal action over crypto scam