I wrote earlier this year about Twitter and Facebook scams involving a number of celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson, Tyler Perry and Elon Musk and now a new variation of the Twitter Elon Musk scam is turning up. Posing as a famous person on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is quite simple to do and has proven to be quite lucrative for many scammers who are able to convince unsuspecting victims to rely on the phony accounts. Setting up a social media account is easy to do for a scammer requiring merely a name, a photo and an email address, all of which can be done to make it appear that the account is that of the real celebrity when, in truth it is that of the scammer. Sometimes the scammer will add a middle initial or a slight misspelling of the name of the celebrity to avoid detection. There are even companies that for a few dollars will set up phony celebrity social media accounts for scammers. Despite the efforts of the various social media companies to try to stop this practice, it continues in great numbers. Facebook estimates that there are as many as 60 million phony Facebook accounts including hundreds of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. It tries to remove the accounts when it becomes aware of them, but they spring up soon again.
In the original version of the Elon Musk Twitter scam about which I reported to you earlier this year a Twitter thread started by the real Elon Musk using his Twitter handle of @elonmusk is responded to by someone using the handle of @ElonMsk, which also carries a photo of Elon Musk. Someone looking at it quickly may not recognize that it is not the Twitter handle of Elon Musk and is missing the letter “u.” The Tweet states, “I’m donating 20 Bitcoin to everyone who sends .02 BTC to the address below. First 40 transactions with 0.02 BTC sent to the address below will each receive 0.5 BTC to the address the 0.02 BTC came from.” People who fell for this scam sent in a few Bitcoins in an attempt to receive more in return. Although Twitter is shutting down these scammers when they become aware of the scams, it takes little time for the scammers to start the scam again using the name of another celebrity.
Now cybercriminals are hacking accounts already verified by Twitter and changing the name and picture to make it appear as if the account is that of Elon Musk. They then use these accounts that appear legitimate to perpetrate the same Bitcoin scam. In addition, the scammers are also promoting the phony tweets by using Twitter’s ad services to enable them to have their tweets inserted into the timelines of Twitter users. While Twitter is attempting to identify these phony accounts and shut them down, they continue to be a problem.
TIPS
If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. These scams are really just another incarnation of the Nigerian email scam. Dwayne Johnson is not giving away free prizes and no one is giving anyone 20 Bitcoins in return for .02 Bitcoins. Elon Musk, John McAffee, Vitalik Buterin and other well known people are not giving away Bitcoins in return for paying them fewer Bitcoins. Always look carefully at Twitter threads when responding. You should never trust a social media account of a celebrity or anyone for that matter that promises to give you something for nothing. No celebrity is giving gifts to total strangers, not even Oprah Winfrey, whose generosity is well known and whose name was used to perpetrate these scams, as well. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.
Whenever you see one of these free giveaways appear in social media be a little skeptical and don’t provide any personal information. Certainly don’t give away any credit card information and don’t click on unverified links.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”