The Office of the Premier is advising to public to be wary of a series of sponsored advertisements featuring Premier Alden McLaughlin’s photograph that have been popping up on social media.
“We would advise the public not to click on any links within the ad as there could be a malicious link on the website,” a spokesperson told the Cayman Compass.
The advertisements are a scam, the Office of the Premier spokesperson said, adding, “We had seen the original ‘Sports In Line’ page which was using the same ads; they were circulating last week and Facebook reacted quickly and removed it.”
The advertisements started appearing on Facebook newsfeeds last week.
It features various pictures of Premier McLaughlin, as well as images of fancy cars, airplanes and ostentatious homes under headlines that included, ‘This … wasn’t meant to be televised.’
The ads take users to an article that claimed the premier is the richest man in Cayman and encourages bitcoin purchases.
It features the logo of local publication Caymanian Times.
Caymanian Times publisher Ralph Lewis said the advertisements and the articles have nothing to do with his newspaper.
He said the advertisements were brought to his attention by readers.
“They have also advised Facebook of the fake advertisement. It is not a legitimate article, and readers should be aware of these attempts to use legitimate logos to bring credibility to their stories,” Lewis said.
This is not the first time the premier’s images have been used by scammers.
Last year, the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit issued a warning after a number of fake profiles using the identity of the premier started showing up on Instagram.
Those behind the profiles were contacting members of the public offering funds from a United Nations grant, as well as soliciting money from would-be victims.
Other high-ranking government officials have also had their identities cloned on social media.