A recent probe revealed that there are dozens of Facebook pages offering to sell deadly poison online for those contemplating suicide. But the payment should be only in Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.
The scammers on the social media platforms provide detailed instructions on what they will do and how to use poison pills. These people, hiding behind the screen, even contact the victims via WhatsApp.
A BBC reporter Marco Silva, who was investigating this racket, describes one incident in a report when he received a WhatsApp message from an alleged dealer of suicide pills. The message read, "Minimum order is 100g and it will cost you £150. We package discreetly and ship from Douala, Cameroon." While questing the legality of such business, Silva was told by a scammer that this enterprise was going on for a while and assured prompt shipment.
Even though the name of the substance was not disclosed by the report, it is revealed that 60 Facebook pages were claiming to sell the same chemical, while advertising it as a suicide tool. The operators of such Facebook pages remain anonymous and they solicit solicit payment in cryptocurrency.
Suicide Pill Racket in Facebook
As per the probe report, there was a video that surfaced on a Facebook page showing a hand opening a can containing a plastic bag filled with white pills, and the seller claiming that the deadly pills are 99 percent pure having industrial uses. It was found that some substance names were listed on the Facebook page. When the reporter contacted the dealer, he promised Silva speedy delivery, only if he uses cryptocurrency as a payment mode.
Soon Silva found that it is not one Facebook page but 60 similar pages that have been claiming to sell the same poison and have gained huge online popularity. James Coulson, a reader in clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Cardiff University told BBC, "We're seeing a proliferation in the advertising and potential sale of illicit drugs online."
However, later when the social media company was informed about the existence of such pages, Facebook immediately took action and removed them. In a statement, the company said, "We do not allow content on our platform that encourages suicide and we prohibit the sale of drugs of this nature. We removed the pages identified by the BBC immediately and carried out a further detailed investigation, removing a number of other violating pages involved in similar activity."
But removing pages did not stop the scammers, as new pages claiming to sell such poison pills, appeared online recently.