Bitcoin scammers have netted over $2 million in the past two months using the name of SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Reported by ZDNet last week, scammers are now using sophisticated vanity addresses to lure the cautious Bitcoin users into their trap.
These addresses use the name of the tech billionaire as initial strings to get credibility from the potential victims. Two of the involved addresses are 1MuskPsV7BnuvMuHGWmmXUyXKjxp3vLZX6 and 1ELonMUsKZzpVr5Xok8abiXhhqGbdrnK5C.
The fraud stats were tracked by Justin Lister, CEO of cyber-security firm Adaptiv, with the help of BitcoinAbuse, a website collecting the Bitcoin fraud addresses from the victims fallen for extortions, ransomware, scams, and cybercrimes.
The security company has found 66 such addresses exploiting Musk’s name and reputation to receive Bitcoins, but as of press time, there are 67 Bitcoin vanity addresses listed on BitcoinAbuse.
These address together hold 214 Bitcoins with a current market value of over $2 million. This amount is massive compared to the efforts took to pull such scams.
Scammers are getting sophisticated
The report detailed that most of these Bitcoins were collected from YouTube live stream giveaways where the scammers sophisticatedly impersonate an existing channel with massive followers. These channels run a long interview or discussion with the celebrity and announce a Bitcoin “giveaway”, asking the potential victims to send a small number of Bitcoins to the provided addresses to receive double or triple the amount.
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Address shows no transactions so far. https://t.co/NmA9Co9EeU
How the hell does this go “under” YouTube’s radar? pic.twitter.com/YXrIrFWmFK
— Oo Nwoye (@OoTheNigerian) June 12, 2020
Scammers are running such scams for years, but recently they have turned to be more sophisticated.
Fraudsters have taken advantage of the recent hype of SpaceX advancements for launching astronauts into space to get more attention.
Apart from Musk, these scams also milked from the name of other tech celebrities including Bill Gates and Vitalik Buterin, and they are also tapping users in platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and even TikTok.