Scary: ISIS uses fake eBay and Gumtree ads to lure victims
The Islamic State is encouraging lone wolfs to place fake ads on second-hand websites including Gumtree and eBay, in an attempt to capture hostages for slaughtering.
The instructions were released in the latest edition of the group’s online propaganda magazine, Rumiyah, dubbed the ‘terror playbook’.
Issue nine of the magazine asks jihadists to place fake job ads on local employment sites to lure in targets.
According to a Rumiyah translation page, the publication details the best locations and scenarios for taking a hostage.
A translated excerpt from Rumiyah:
“Advertising a Job: Advertising a fake job by way of posting one’s ad at a local unemployment center will undoubtedly attract a response, and one may then filter out one’s sought after target by advertising a job that is likely to attract that type of person.
“Second-Hand buy and sell groups: online sales by way of buy and sell websites such as Craigslist, Gumtree, eBay, the Loot, and others are an alternative means to luring one’s victims…The advertisement should specify that collection and payment is only available in person and that only cash is accepted. Also, the item being advertised should be something that requires the victim to enter one’s property. For example, a car wouldn’t require the target to enter the seller’s property as the vehicle would be expected to have been parked in the driveway or in front of the property.
“It is likewise important to be realistic when advertising and not advertise something far below its valued price, as this can attract the attention of authorities searching for stolen goods or possibly attract other suspicions. The viewing and collecting of the item should be arranged to be at the location where one seeks to carry out his operation. Upon the target’s arrival, one can then proceed to initiate his attack.”
In a statement to AdNews, a Gumtree spokesperson says the safety of its community is its main priority and it urges anyone who thinks they’ve come across anything suspicious or concerning to report it to them.
“We also encourage people to report any suspected unlawful activity to the police,” a spokesperson says.
“We encourage all users to visit our help section for tips on how to have a safe and successful experience and to be vigilant when using any online marketplace.”
This is not the first time advertising and Isis content have become intertwined, as brand safety concerns continue to develop as Google and Facebook fail to regulate uploaded content.
A spokesperson from eBay has told AdNews the issue is not relevant to the Australian site as it is seldom used for advertising classifieds, unlike its US site.
Earlier this year, a University of NSW ad appeared alongside a video by a Russian jihadi, as well as a Twin Waters Resort banner over the top.
However, it’s thought this is the first time the terrorist group has utilised community led pages and fake ads to their advantage.