Interest in cryptocurrencies is extremely high and prominent in the discussions of cryptocurrencies is Elon Musk who has proven to be able to move the value of cryptocurrencies in general and Dogecoin in particular in response to his tweets, comments and television appearances. Recently the Federal Trade Commission issued a report in which it indicated that in the last six months reports of people being scammed in cryptocurrency related scams climbed to more than 80 million dollars which is 1,000% more than the same time period last year.
In July of 2020 I told you about how Twitter accounts belonging to many prominent people including Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg and many more prominent people along with company Twitter accounts of Apple, Uber, Wendy’s and more were hacked for more than two hours during which time, the hackers sent out tweets that tricked a minimum of a few hundred people into transferring Bitcoin to the hackers believing that they would receive a large Bitcoin payment in return. The phony tweet that came from Bill Gates’ Twitter account read “Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time. You send $1,000 and I will send you back $2,000.” This type of scam tricking people through Twitter into sending bitcoins to scammers is nothing new.
Many of these scams follow a pattern I first told you about in 2018. In the 2018 version of the Elon Musk Twitter scam 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 some variation of, “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.” In other versions of the scam, the scammers used their phony Musk Twitter account to promote participation in a giveaway by Musk’s Tesla company in which people would send Bitcoins and get ten times the amount of their Bitcoins in return. According to the FTC more than 2 million dollars was lost to scammers posing as Elon Musk in the last six months.
If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. These scams are really just another incarnation of the Nigerian email scam. No one is giving away ten Bitcoins for every one Bitcoin you send them although people have fallen victim to this scam not just in phony Tweets of Elon Musk, but also scammers who used the names of Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, John McAffee and Vitalik Buterin to name just a few. 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, don’t send any Bitcoins and don’t click on unverified links.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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