Hackers Impersonate Elon Musk Using Verified Twitter Accounts to Spread Bitcoin Scam

Mae Love
November 8, 2018

Film distributor Pathe UK and US Publisher Pantheon Books have been part of the victim accounts.

Cryptocurrency scammers are pretending to be Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter, and some of their tweets are being promoted onto timelines through Twitter's ad service.

The same scam had used other accounts earlier last month, yet Twitter had appeared to shut them down - raising questions over the consistency of its monitoring policy.

While it's far from the first time that scammers have promoted crypto tricks under Musk's name, it is the first time that prominent accounts with blue ticks have been targeted, presumably to add legitimacy to the attempt.

The hacker promised to double the investment of anyone who sends a small amount of Bitcoin to the specified wallet.

In line with a huge number of similar scams which have appeared on Twitter this year, the fraudulent account invites users to participate in a giveaway in order to win a huge sum of Bitcoin - in this case, 10,000 BTC ($64.1 million). Durov's tweet drew attention to fake crypto giveaway scammers who posed as the Telegram CEO and claimed to offer crypto to users as a "thank you for [their] support".

On November 5, hackers hacked several confirmed Twitter accounts to impersonate Elon Musk.

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Clicking on any of the links in the scam sends users to a page where they are urged to send anywhere from 0.1-one Bitcoin (£491-£4,491) to the scammers - with the promise that they would receive one-10 Bitcoin as a reward.

Several of these accounts have since been recovered and the tweets deleted. These included verified accounts of blogger Sarah Scoop, Swansea City AFC Ladies and boxer Rayton Okwiri. "Notably, his account comes with an election label specifying that he is a U.S. House candidate for New Jersey, though his other verified handle, "@FrankPallone", remained untouched.

It is said that the hackers have compromised several different accounts, including those of film producer Pathe U.K. and United States politician Frank Pallone Jr.

Pathe UK have since issued a statement to confirm that their account was "hacked by an unknown third party".

Following the various Bitcoin scams making headlines, the recent one involves a major film company whose Twitter account has fallen prey to a fake distribution scheme of Bitcoins.

Now the scam has become more nuanced as it uses Twitter's own verification to make it more convincing.

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