Cybercriminals were seen using the same old scam of promising users to send bitcoins and promising them to return a double amount as a giveaway, but this time with a new trick to lure their victims and gain massive financial gains.
Use of Bitcoin Vanity addresses
The scammers were seen using Bitcoin vanity addresses to make their scam appear more credible, and thus make more than $2 million over the past two months.
- Recently, scammers were seen using bitcoin vanity addresses, which allow users to add a custom word in their wallet address, for creating fake accounts with Elon Musk's name, like "1ELonMUsKZzpVr5Xok8abiXhhqGbdrnK5C".
- These fake Bitcoin vanity URLs were shared with the help of YouTube live streams as giveaway scams.
- Three YouTube channels that were previously known as 'Juice TV,' 'Right Human,' and 'MaximSakulevich' were hijacked and renamed to 'SpaceX Live' or 'SpaceX' to run the promotions for these scams.
- Using the online service BitcoinAbuse (service for reporting Bitcoin addresses abused in any kind of cybercrime), a total of 67 Bitcoin vanity addresses were found, that had received 214 Bitcoins (or $2 Million) in two months.
Exploiting brand Elon Musk for two years
These kind of scammers have been abusing Elon Musk’s name to lure their victims for almost two years.
- In August 2018, a hacker broke into an official verified Twitter account, rebranding it as Elon Musk and posting fake tweets promising free Bitcoin and Ethereum giveaways to Musk's over 22 million followers at the time. Similar scam incidents were observed again in November 2018 and June 2019 as well.
- In June 2018, scammers had siphoned off 8,148 Ether (around $4.3 million) by creating fake Twitter accounts posing as celebrities like Elon Musk and others, promising huge giveaway returns.
Cybercriminals have been luring their victims for such scams not just via Twitter or YouTube live streams, but also on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and other platforms. So, cryptocurrency users must use their discretion to identify such scams and avoid falling for such too-good-to-be-true offers.