Elon Musk targeted by fake Bitcoin advertisements as pressure mounts on Twitter
Matthew Elmas / Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Tesla founder Elon Musk has fallen victim to another round of Bitcoin impersonation scams, this time from hacked verified accounts, as pressure mounts on Twitter to do something about fraudsters on the platform.
The entrepreneur is just the latest in a long line of prominent businesspeople to become the subject of Bitcoin trading scams, with Australian entrepreneurs Janine Allis and Steve Baxter also falling victim earlier this year.
Cryptocurrency fraudsters are hacking verified Twitter accounts, changing their names to something that resembles Elon Musk (think E1on Musk or E|on Musk) and promoting tweets for Bitcoin giveaways.
The Twitter accounts of British retailer Matalan and film distributor Pathe UK have been repurposed for the scam in recent days.
While the handle itself isn’t Musk’s, concern has been raised the presence of the verified tick may fool some users.
Clicking the link reportedly sends users to a page where they’re asked to pay Bitcoins in advance for the promise of a larger Bitcoin reward.
Other hacked accounts replied to the promoted tweets in an attempt to lend them further credibility.
The Pathé UK twitter account and a whole bunch of other verified accounts have been taken over to spin a bitcoin scam.
If only the “new tweet” button were bigger scams like this wouldn’t be visible.
— Chris Hanney (@HanneyChris) 5 November 2018
It’s not the first time Musk has been a victim of a Bitcoin trading scam, earlier this year Musk said he alerted Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey to the fake ad issue after a user asked him about all the spam.
Twitter declined to provide comment on specific cases on Tuesday, but in February told Buzzfeed it was aware of the “manipulation”.
Back in July Twitter said it was cracking down on the fake accounts, focusing on Musk impersonators.
That doesn’t seem to have stamped out the behaviour though, clearly.
Not sure. I let @jack know, but it’s still going. I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25 BTC that a friend sent me many years ago.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 22 February 2018
Local entrepreneurs haven’t escaped the scams either. Earlier this year an Australian version of the scam surfaced using the images of Shark Tank judges Steve Baxter and Janine Allis.
Baxter posted a fake news article to Twitter in March titled “The Biggest Deal in Shark Tank History, That Can Make YOU Rich In Just 7 Days! (Seriously)” to raise awareness about the scam.
Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany.