“Elon Musk” Strikes Again, Bitcoin Scam Ensues
After Twitter reportedly restricted (and banned) many of the accounts sharing the likeness of Tesla & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, one of the social media platform’s foremost stars, reports have arisen that claim that the world-renowned entrepreneur has been impersonated yet again, this time in a context pertaining to Bitcoin (BTC).
Just one day ago, an anonymous group of hackers breached that Twitter accounts of Matalan and PatheUK, two British media outlets that have been verified (denoted by the iconic blue checkmark) and have garnered thousands of followers. The attackers quickly went to work, changing the profile’s picture and title/name to trick Twitter-goers that they were Musk himself, who is an active (maybe too-active) user of the platform himself.
Capitalizing on this change, the scammers issued a series of promoted tweets, claiming that them, or “Elon Musk,” was giving away 10,000 “Bitcoic (BTC),” which would be valued at $65 million, subsequently beckoning the “community” to participate in the obvious swindle.
What the heck? These scams are getting worse by the day.
Now we have verified accounts of politicians that are used for this scam!
— Euqinomist (@Euqinomist) November 5, 2018
The message, which was riddled with typos, was closed off by its authors with a link, presumably to a scam/virus-infested web page, and a QR code and Bitcoin address with an accompanying message. The message, situated above the QR code and Bitcoin address, was presumably recognizable to astute crypto investors/savants, as it claimed that Musk would return 10x on the victim’s “investment” — obviously a too good to be true opportunity.
As this news rose to prominence, a number of mainstream media outlets started to cover the topic, claiming that it was the wallet associated with the scam had received upwards of 28 BTC ($175,000) from supposed victims. This would indicate that the scam-promoting tweet, likely promoted to the feeds of thousands, somehow worked, even in spite of the typos and the outrageous BTC returns that “Elon Musk” offered.
Not Everyone Is Convinced…
Although many have claimed that the hacker’s ‘winnings’ are well over $100,000, others aren’t convinced that the BTC “Musk” garnered are from the pockets of naive investors, but rather, from the scammer/hacker’s associates and accomplices.
P. H. Madore of CCN claimed that a “significant portion of the funds” may have come from the hacker’s own wallets, with this likely being done to entice to-be victims to throw their crypto holdings and the pseudonymous address.
Udi Wertheimer, a well-known and well-regarded Bitcoiner and coder extraordinaire that frequents Twitter, echoed this sentiment. Wertheimer noted that just because the address under inspection has “some money in it” doesn’t mean that they “scored it.”
Hey @coindesk, this is a pretty common misconception, but it’s time to put it to an end:
Just because the scammer’s address has some money in it, it doesn’t mean they “scored” it. The scammers usually send large sums to their own addresses so that they seem legit. pic.twitter.com/hGWDZYDXv0
— Udi Wertheimer 🔨 [#reckless] (@udiWertheimer) November 5, 2018
Regardless of the specifics of this scam, this odd occurrence highlights the reoccurring theme and relationship between Elon Musk, arguably the world’s most well-known CEO, and Bitcoin and the nascent crypto industry, which he has seemingly lightly dabbled in.
Throughout the past months, Musk has made a series of tiny, yet well-read forays into crypto — first jokingly noting that he would want Ethereum (ETH) “even if it is a scam” before calling upon Dogecoin’s founder, Jackson Palmer, to fight Twitter scambots and jokingly tweeting about Bitcoin in the context of Japanese anime cartoons.
Title Image Courtesy of Casey Horner on Unsplash