New Wave of Faux Elon Musk Accounts Run Bitcoin Scams on Twitter
On November 5th, a series of verified Twitter accounts were hacked and shifted into fake accounts representing Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind Boring Co., SpaceX, Tesla, and more. The fake accounts then leveraged Musk’s “authority” for bitcoin scams via promoted tweets.
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Hackers Launch ‘Elon Musk’ Bitcoin Scams
On Tuesday, a series of verified Twitter accounts were hacked and retooled into fake Elon Musk accounts, whereupon they launched bitcoin giveaway scams that nabbed more than $100,000 USD worth of bitcoin from victims fooled by promises of massive returns from the fake Musk accounts.
The giveaway scam entailed fake “10,000 bitcoin giveaways” that were mirrored on each of the compromised accounts. The hackers solicited transactions in excess of 0.1 BTC with false promises of sending considerably higher sums in return.
Dozens of fake accounts were to be found in the comments of these posts, who showed out in a coordinated effort to make it seem like the cons weren’t cons. “I sent 1 Bitcoin and got back 20 BTC,” a participating account fraudulently asserted, one of many like it. Also, the compromised accounts retweeted actual Elon Musk tweets en masse to make their pages superficially convincing.
Source familiar says the Pallone campaign's account @pallonefornj was indeed hacked, that Twitter is aware and looking into it, but that they don't suspect any political motivations. Just looks like a Bitcoin scam.
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) November 5, 2018
However, it’s not possible to rule out that some of that 28 bitcoin were sent by the scammer or scammers themselves in order to make the scheme seem more viable.
The episode marks only the latest of many occasions in which Twitter scammers have tried to spoof Elon Musk’s account in order to swindle cryptocurrency.
Musk in Crypto Headlines in 2018
In October, Musk caused a stir in the cryptoverse upon tweeting out “Wanna buy some Bitcoin?” in a longer, meme-filled Twitter thread.
The comment sparked widespread speculation, with many arguing Musk was simply trolling and others saying the entrepreneur was hinting at a new cryptocurrency-related service.
Wanna buy some Bitcoin? 😉😉 pic.twitter.com/9ZbBJ5fuVq
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 22, 2018
After that bitcoin tweet, Musk’s account was even temporarily banned as Twitter suspected his handle had been hacked, though it hadn’t been.
It wasn’t Musk’s first brush with the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
In September 2018, the entrepreneur reached out to former Dogecoin developer Jackson Palmer for help on clearing his Twitter threads of crypto-centric scams. Palmer then sent Musk an automated script that would do just that. The two bemoaned the fact Twitter hadn’t done more to combat the problem in recent months.
@ummjackson if you can help get rid of the annoying scam spammers, that would be much appreciated
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2018
Over the summer, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin similarly asked for Twitter improvements after Musk made a joke about the widespread “Etherium scambots” littering his posts.
I do wish @elonmusk's first tweet about ethereum was about the tech rather than the twitter scambots……..@jack help us please? Or someone from the ETH community make a layer 2 scam filtering solution, please? https://t.co/biVRshZmne
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) July 9, 2018
With that said, Twitter’s cryptocurrency scam problems continue to date, as attackers continue to develop new vectors to manipulate naive investors in the space.
What’s your take? How should Twitter handle bitcoin scams on its platform? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay, Twitter