Nope, Elon Musk Isn’t Giving Away Bitcoins on Twitter – Crypto Con Made Scammers $180K in a Day
Elon Musk is probably the most exciting tech celebrity account to follow on Twitter. But with his prolific use of Twitter also comes the risk of his name being used in not-so-fun ways. A high profile scam is using Tesla CEO's name to make hundreds of thousands of dollars by scamming people out of bitcoins.
Scammers have apparently managed to compromise a number of verified Twitter accounts to pose as Musk and earn money through fake giveaway sites. The verified Twitter accounts that have been targeted so far include British fashion retailer Matalan, US publisher Pantheon Books, independent record label Marathon Artists, and others.
After hacking into these accounts, scammers would change the profile name to "Elon Musk" to tweet about Musk giving away 10,000 bitcoins. They even promoted some tweets to reach out to a wider audience.
"I'm giving 10 000 Bitcoin (BTC) to all community!
I left the post of director of Tesla, thank you all for your support!
I decided to make the biggest crypto-giveaway in the world, for all my readers who use Bitcoin."
Links were added to these tweets to lead users to enter into the giveaway. These sites included musk[.]plus, musk[.]fund, spacex[.]plus, and several similar websites that required users to contribute a small amount of bitcoin (usually .1) to get a larger amount in return.
Bitcoin wallets associated with the scam have managed to receive a total of 28 bitcoins ($180,000) from over 400 users. While the scam was pretty obvious with spelling mistakes in tweets, it appears many have fallen for this probably because some of the verified accounts were used to tweet about how they took part in the Elon Musk's giveaway and tripled their bitcoin payment - a move that successfully tricked users into believing that the scheme is legitimate.
"To verify your address, send from 0.1 to 3 BTC to the address below and get from 1 to 30 BTC back!
BONUS: Addresses with 0.30 BTC or more sent, gets additional +200% back!"
Government accounts, including the official Twitter accounts of the Ministry of Transportation of Colombia and the National Disaster Management Authority of India, were used to promote this scam. While most of the accounts were recovered after a few hours of being compromised, some continue to post about this "giveaway."
"Impersonating another individual to deceive users is a clear violation of the Twitter Rules," a Twitter spokesperson said in response to the rampant crypto scams on the platform. "Twitter has also substantially improved how we tackle cryptocurrency scams on the platform. In recent weeks, user impressions have fallen by a multiple of 10 as we continue to invest in more proactive tools to detect spammy and malicious activity. This is a significant improvement on previous action rates."
This isn't the first time that scammers have used Elon Musk to attract attention to their campaigns. Earlier this year, another crypto scam was spotted on the site that hijacked unverified accounts to get bitcoins for Tesla and SpaceX.