A study conducted by Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) indicated that OneCoin cryptocurrency project used fake reviews on TrustPilot and Quora to attract investors.
The researchers found that OneCoin received five-star ratings in October 2019.
According to the study, 90 percent of OneCoin’s 579 TrustPilot reviews were positive and nearly 400 of the five-star ratings were released in one month.
DFRLab indicated that OneCoin has got some one-star ratings, but were outnumbered by positive reviews.
However, the researchers could not confirm, because of TrustPilot’s design, whether the accounts behind the ratings were inauthentic or artificial, but said their review was suspect:
“October 2019 spike in five-star ratings, however, indicated an abnormal influx of favorable reviews just as OneCoin’s public relations and legal woes mounted. The possibility remains that the influx for both ratings and reviews was organic, though the timing and extreme bias was highly suspicious.”
The researchers unveiled one profile in which the owner identified herself as an “expert and trader in the cryptocurrency”. They said:
“As OneCoin’s legal challenges mounted, the company’s pyramid marketing scheme garnered significant attention. Its digital marketing tactics, however, received considerably less scrutiny.”
OneCoin is one of most well-known scams in the cryptocurrency community. The company’s website halted operations in early December 2019. A New York court ordered continuity of the lawsuit filed against David Pike, CFO of private equity fund, as he was accused of the scam.
In November, Mark Scott, the attorney behind the scam, was found guilty of stealing $400 million for OneCoin in New York.
At that time, some countries declared that they were taking action to protect investors from OneCoin that used some sale techniques to attract new investors.
“While there was no direct evidence tying these inauthentic profiles and reviews to OneCoin employees or evidence of automated activity on either platform, the profiles and favorable reviews nonetheless served to boost trust for the OneCoin brand as it faced a multibillion-dollar scandal,” the report concludes.
On the sidelines of World Economic Forum, Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, said investors should diversify their investments and focus on traditional markets, especially stock exchanges.