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

giveaway, bitcoin

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.

giveaway, giving away, bitcoin
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.

giveaway, giving away
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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