Fake Elon Musk Accounts Scamming Bitcoin from Twitter Users

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Bitcoin scams are nothing new, especially on Twitter. During the 2017/18 bull run, those with large followings were plagued by chains of replies to their tweets from scammers offering ‘giveaways’ which required you to send money to them first. It was easy for most Twitter-savvy individuals to spot the fake accounts from the genuine ones however, usually via the ‘verified’ blue tick next to the username that denoted that the account holder was indeed who they said they were. But how reliable is that blue tick? Turns out, not much at all.

Elon Musk ‘Giveaway’

The trouble started when several well-known individuals and companies had their Twitter accounts hacked and had several changes made. The most notable of these a was that the page was edited to appear as though it belonged to Tesla owner Elon Musk, with the blue tick seeming to indicate its authenticity. The accounts were then used to pay for a sponsored tweet suggesting that Musk had left his job as director of Tesla and was giving away Bitcoin, if some was sent to him first. It seems that the scam fooled a number of people, with the Bitcoin wallet of one of the scammers currently standing at 26 BTC, worth $170,000, with ‘donations’ still coming in after the scam has been exposed and most profiles were back with their rightful owners.

Spotting a Fake

Although the fake profiles did have the blue tick of supposed authenticity, there was plenty about them to suggest otherwise. Firstly, the handle of each profile was not changed, and therefore bore no relation to Musk (@patheuk, @matalan for example), and in some cases the word ‘Bitcoin’ was misspelt. Musk also apparently revealed in the posts that he had “left the post of director of Tesla, thank you all for your supoot”. Musk is no stranger to cryptocurrency, having accepted it for his flamethrowers earlier this year, and recently posted on his genuine Twitter account “Wanna buy some Bitcoin?”, which may have led some people to believing the fake posts to be true. To those who have already sent ‘Musk’ some Bitcoin, and those who may be tempted by similar ‘giveaways’ in the future, do your own research first and remember that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.