Ethereum 'giveaway' scams on social media dupe victims out of $4.3 million
Online scammers have managed to trick people out of 8,148 Ether (currently worth about $4.3 million) by duping victims using fake Ether “giveaways” on social media. These scams, which have been going on for months, entice the victim to send cryptocurrency to a specific wallet with the promise of larger returns.
The fraudsters often create fake Twitter accounts posing as famous personalities such as Elon Musk, John McAfee and others to churn out tweets that generate clicks and retweets. They then ask for ask for 0.2 to 0.5 Ether currency to be sent to a specific Ethereum address with the fake promise that they shall receive more than what you have invested. However, victims gain nothing in return. they are not giving away anything.
This widespread Twitter scam was first discovered by Bleeping Computer in February when a scammer made $5000 in one night by posing as celebrities with fake Twitter accounts. They also imitate cryptocurrency services like exchanges, wallets and ICOS, as well as lesser known personalities like academics, security researchers and journalists.
Ethereum addresses identified in the spam campaign are being tracked by EtherScamDB, a website that was created by MyCrypto wallet service to track the numerous online “giveaway” scams targeting Ethereum users.
“Cryptocurrency giveaway scam activity appears to have peaked in April of this year, but given rebounding cryptocurrency values and ongoing interest in these currencies, we will continue to monitor related schemes,” Proofpoint researchers said. “To date, we have identified a number of patterns that may be of use to those tracking this and similar activities as many actors appear to be engaging in these schemes.”
An examination of the Ethereum and Bitcoin wallets associated with these scams shows that the combination of social engineering and desire to ‘get rich quick’ has fooled many victims into sending cryptocurrency to a growing group of actors running the modern-day equivalent of 419 scams,” researchers said. “These are essentially the advance fee scams that made Nigerian princes a running joke, as well as a lucrative lure for early Internet scammers.
“As with most of these scams, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is, but the appeal of nearly-free cryptocurrency and new approaches to social engineering, primarily via hijacked conversations on social media platforms, are proving too tempting for many users.”