Cyber criminals use Elon Musk’s name in a giveaway scam

Cybercriminals used name-dropping Bitcoin vanity addresses to steal $2 million in two months

Bitcoin cryptocurrency mining

Cyber criminals are back to their old tricks, according to Cyware, and have been discovered encouraging users to send them Bitcoin with the promise to return double the amount to them as part of a giveaway.

This time around, though, cyber criminals are using Elon Musk to dupe their victims into handing over their bitcoin. Over the past two months, these savvy scammers have reportedly made more than $2 million.

The scammers are using Bitcoin vanity addresses like "1ELonMUsKZzpVr5Xok8abiXhhqGbdrnK5C” to make their scam appear credible. The vanity URLs were shared via YouTube live streams as giveaway scams.

Scammers commandeered YouTube channels Juice TV, Right Human and MaximSakulevich as part of the scam and renamed them “SpaceX Live” or “SpaceX” to promote the phoney giveaways.

Per Justin Lister, CEO of cyber-security firm Adaptiv, 67 Bitcoin vanity addresses have been associated with the scams. 

Elon Musk’s name has been used to lure unsuspecting victims before. In August 2018, a hacker broke into a verified Twitter account and rebranded it as Musk’s account. After doing so, the hacker posted fake tweets promising free bitcoin and Ethereum giveaways. Musk had over 22 million followers at the time. Similar incidents took place in November 2018 and June 2019.

In June 2018, scammers used Musk’s name on Twitter to siphon off 8,148 Ether, which was valued at $4.3 million. The scam included fake Twitter accounts attributed to popular celebrities like Musk and promised sizable giveaway returns.

Cyber criminals have used giveaways to lure their victims for years. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms have all experienced such scams. To prevent yourself from falling for these too-good-to-be-true offers, we recommend confirming an account holder’s identity before participating in a cryptocurrency giveaway.

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Leading the data race

The trends driving the future of data science

Download now

How to create 1:1 customer experiences at scale

Meet the technology capable of delivering the personalisation your customers crave

Download now

How to achieve daily SAP releases

Accelerate the pace of SAP change to support your digital strategy

Download now

Recommended

The Ritz suffers data breach after hackers pose as staff
data breaches

The Ritz suffers data breach after hackers pose as staff

17 Aug 2020
Russia hacked Liam Fox's personal email to steal trade documents
phishing

Russia hacked Liam Fox's personal email to steal trade documents

4 Aug 2020
British teenager charged over Twitter hack
hacking

British teenager charged over Twitter hack

3 Aug 2020
Mid-year report says vulnerabilities up 22% in 2020
hacking

Mid-year report says vulnerabilities up 22% in 2020

30 Jul 2020

Most Popular

16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

16 Sep 2020
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

16 Sep 2020
Google Pixel 4a review: A picture-perfect package
Google Android

Google Pixel 4a review: A picture-perfect package

18 Sep 2020