Fraudsters posing as verified Twitter accounts have reportedly raked in more than $580,000 in a single week — by pretending Elon Musk sent them free crypto.
The surprisingly effective scam sees hackers take control of dormant verified Twitter accounts to promote fake crypto giveaways inside replies to ‘world’s richest man’ Musk, or other influential figures.
Victims are usually directed to shady Medium articles or landing pages that promise large stacks of crypto, provided they send some first.
Curiously, scammers are finding way more success in swindling Bitcoin than Ethereum. BleepingComputer found they’d earned just $2,700 in ETH compared to over half a million dollars worth of BTC.
This isn’t the first time crypto cons have used Musk’s face to maximize damage. In fact, this scam has been running since as early as 2017 — despite Musk directly demanding Twitter take action.
Most famously, accounts belonging Barack Obama, Warren Buffett, and Kanye West promoted the fraudulent giveaways during a high-profile hack in mid-2020.
Last year, researchers estimated more than $2 billion in Bitcoin had been lost to the scam.