Recently, CTM360 has observed a surge in fake ads misusing the logos of prominent Banks in the Middle East.
27 Jul 2023
Recently, CTM360 has observed a surge in fake ads misusing the logos of prominent Banks in the Middle East. These deceptive ads have found their way onto popular social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, where they promote gaming mobile applications.
The deceptive nature of these fraudulent ads lies in their use of authentic bank logos, enticing unsuspecting users with the promise of substantial winnings. Such misleading tactics create a false perception, leading users to believe that these reputable financial institutions are somehow affiliated with the promoted gaming apps.
Upon further investigation, it appears that the advertised gaming apps are linked to gambling activities. While these apps present themselves as kid-friendly and suitable for all audiences on the App stores, users who installed these apps were subsequently redirected to casino or betting websites.
CTM360 has detected more than 140+ fake ads on Facebook and Instagram targeting users in the Middle East in the last week. These fake ads redirect users to five distinct mobile applications centered around casino and betting games (refer to Appendix for details). Notably, four of these applications have secured listings on the Apple App Store, while the fifth is available for download on Google Play.
Figure 1: Facebook ads misusing Bank logos
Once the user clicks on the given link, they will be redirected to the app store. The primary target of these fake ads primarily comprises IOS users, therefore Android and Windows users will be redirected to an irrelevant website if they click the given link.
This campaign of fraudulent ads has significantly boosted the download rates of these apps, resulting in their ascent to prominent rankings within the ‘casino’ category on the Apple App Store. Below we have listed the app’s ranking based on countries on the Apple App Store at the time of making this report.
Figure 2: Apps Ranking in Apple App Store for ‘casino’ category
CTM360 has successfully taken down 60+ fake ads from Facebook and Instagram targeting the brand names of Middle East Banks. Additionally below are remediation steps that can be taken to stop the overwhelming amount of fraudulent ads and unregulated gambling apps:
- Run a social media campaign to alert customers about such fake apps and ads.
- Unlicensed and unregulated casino/betting apps should be banned from the Application stores in the country to prevent the general public from falling victim to such apps.
List of casino and betting game apps found on official stores.