Twitter Users Fall Prey to Elon Musk Bitcoin Scam

Social media network, Twitter, may have account verification policies in place, but fake account and hacking are still commonplace. And, it appears that many scammers are now trying to dupe people into falling for fraudulent cryptocurrency promotions and giveaways.

On Monday, 12th November 2018, some users of the social media site received a promoted tweet in their newsfeeds purporting to be sent from the account of global entrepreneur and investor, Elon Musk. The message claimed that Musk had resigned from his role as director as Tesla and thanked his followers for their support. To mark the occasion, the fake Elon Musk account (which displayed a white verification ticket) encouraged any readers who used Bitcoin to participate in his 10,000 Bitcoin giveaway.

Sadly, not only was the tweet “fake news”, but it also appeared to be a ploy to divest unsuspecting Twitter users of their Bitcoin. On clicking the link provided, users were required to scan a QR code which then prompted them to part with Bitcoin to be able to qualify for the giveaway. The message in question asked the reader to verify their address by sending a minimum of 0.5 BTC to the address provided in return for up to 50 BTC.

The tweet quickly generated more than four and a half thousand likes and started trending, causing it to catch the attention of more and more readers. Luckily, some followers of the real Elon Musk were quick to pick up on the suspicious message, and many of them were angry with the social media network for promoting the Bitcoin scam through an allegedly verified account.

The account in question belonged to Capgemini – a global specialist in outsourcing, consultancy and technology.

One user (@HamzaAli00001) tweeted a screenshot of the Bitcoin address that was used in the scam, which showed that at the time of posting, the fake account had processed more than twenty-five transactions, and pocket almost 1.5 BTC.

Another user (@JohnLBevan) urged fellow Twitter users to report the message as spam by clicking the “Report Ad” button.

The real Elon Musk has yet to comment on the scam via his Twitter account, but it’s not the first time that he’s been the target of scammers. Earlier this month, other social media accounts belong to Pantheon Books and Matalan were also hacked by unknown persons wanting to impersonate Mr Musk as part of a Bitcoin scam.

According to the Independent, one of the addresses used as part of the cryptocurrency con received over 28 BTC from users who were fooled into believing the fake giveaway.

Although Twitter warns that fake accounts will be suspended and that it’s also seen a significant drop in cryptocurrency scams in the past few weeks after deploying new technology designed to sniff out “spammy and malicious” posts, it appears that the hackers’ persistence is paying off.

Our advice is, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. And, if the Twitter display name doesn’t match the Twitter handle, even a supposedly verified account could well have been hacked.

By Laura Kilby.

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