The scam was as easy as creating a few fraudulent profiles for some choice celebs and crypto firms and then posting myriad tweets telling of crypto giveaways. Represented among more than a dozen fake accounts were Coinbase, Elon Musk, Vitalik Buterin, John McAfee, and–somewhat oddly–Warren Buffet (@WarrenBuffet).
Unsurprisingly, most of the tweets sent out by these fake accounts were riddled with egregious spelling errors and promised outrageously high returns–with some individual variation, the tweets told that users would receive ten-fold returns in exchange for sending fractions of ETH tokens to public addresses.
Tweets Promised Big Returns for Sending in ETH
As reported by Bleeping Computer, one of at least three of the fake Elon Musk accounts that have been connected to the scam, @elonnmuusk, wrote in a reply to @realDonaldTrump: “Thank u President, i want to give away 100 ethereum to ur followers, just send 0.2 eth to the address below and u will receive 2.0 eth” (the address was included).
Although the accounts associated with the scam only had some success at reeling in users who didn’t know any better for less than twenty-four hours between February 6th and 7th, many of them had been active in some capacity on Twitter for several weeks.
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Based on the addresses that were included within the fraudulent tweets, reporters at Bleeping Computer calculated that scammers had fooled innocent Ethereum holders into sending north of 7.69 ETH tokens into their wallets, worth roughly $6200 at current valuation.
Scammers Got Lucky; Scam-ees, Not So Much
The timing of the scam in conjunction with the real Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch on February 7 is some indication that the three false Elon Musk accounts most likely received the most attention (and garnered the greatest amount of ETH).
However, a couple of factors make the scheme’s fortunate schedule seem coincidental rather than coordinated. For one thing, these accounts have been present and trying to trick users for several weeks.
In addition, the fact that the false accounts have so many different entities represented can be interpreted as an indication that whoever is behind the scam was simply trying to cast the widest net possible — and they did manage to catch some unfortunate fish.