Businessman Gavin Duffy condemns online scam which claims he has died

ireland
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Louise Walsh

Irish Entrepreneur and businessman Gavin Duffy has said he was "horrified" to find himself at the centre of an apparent click-bait scam which is announcing his death across social media.

The well-known former Presidential candidate and Dragon's Den investor says he is very much "alive and well" despite sponsored content across Facebook channels declaring his death.

However, when clicked on, the ads go to a bitcoin business, alleging that Mr Duffy has made money from and this has led to a number of people reportedly losing hundreds of euro.

In his investigations Mr Duffy believes that the scammers are spending up to $40,000 (€42,000) a month on the sponsored ads over the Facebook platform

The ads have become more targeted in recent weeks and the Co Louth native has received countless calls from people, genuinely upset to think he had passed on.

"I'm very much alive and well," he said.

"When this started, we had a bit of a laugh about it because I knew I obviously wasn't dead but I was horrified to discover this had a more sinister element.

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"Hundreds of people have been in contact looking for my funeral details and in a Covid world when people are missing funerals and deaths, they are more likely to believe these ads.

"The ad shows a picture of me with a banner saying 'Farewell to Gavin' but when you click on the image, it brings you to a bitcoin business saying that I've made millions from.

I just want to stress, I've never invested in bitcoin and I am alive and well and please, please don't fall for this scam.

"I'd like to stress that I have never, ever invested a cent in bitcoin and know very little about it."

Mr Duffy says he has hired the services of lawyers and a cyber security firm in London to try and discover the identity of the scammers.

"We believe that these people are spending up to $40,000 a month on ads using my image on Facebook

"From what we can establish, the website originates in Singapore and is then hidden in various clouds and then the email leads to a phone number in Panama so it's a very intricate set-up."

Unfortunately, Mr Duffy has learned of some people who have lost money because of the ad.

"I've had calls from people from Tipperary and the West of Ireland who have lost a few hundred euro in it.

"Again, I just want to stress, I've never invested in bitcoin and I am alive and well and please, please don't fall for this scam."

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