Elon Musk isn’t giving away Bitcoin! ‘Motherload’ scam earned $2M last week

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A complex web of Bitcoin giveaway scams earned $2 million in cryptocurrency last week — mostly by impersonating Elon Musk.

The campaign, which Protos has dubbed ‘the Motherload,’ is linked to dozens of Bitcoin phishing scams featuring the likeness of popular billionaires.

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An example of the Motherload’s scams, this one hosted on Blogspot.

In total, the Motherload’s giveaway stash has now received over 221 BTC ($10.8 million) since its origin in August last year. 

  • 41.4 BTC ($2 million) flowed in last week.
  • 93.9 BTC ($4.6 million) in February so far.
  • 180 BTC ($8.7 million) in the year-to-date.

Two of the Motherload’s biggest ever deposits were made in the past two days: 12 BTC ($584,800) on Sunday and 13.8 BTC ($672,500) on Monday — together worth over $1.25 million.

The scams all work the same, a fantastically wealthy public figure is giving away 5,000 BTC to anyone who sends them cryptocurrency, except it’s a ruse.

Twitter bots spread links to fraudulent blogs underneath posts from celebrities, often posing as billionaires themselves.

There are also numerous reports of the scams advertised on YouTube.

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One of the more heartbreaking BitcoinAbuse reports from victims of the Motherload giveaway campaign.

We previously reported the Motherload seemed to be finding the most success with fake Chamath-themed giveaways.

However, most of the Bitcoin stolen by the Motherload last week came from addresses tied to scams featuring Tesla’s chief exec.

[Read more: Bitcoin giveaway scam ‘Motherload’ steals $1M in one week]

Other ploys featuring Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss still seem to be the least effective.

Protos is maintaining a database of domains we’ve tied to the giveaway scam, found below.

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