Scammers have connected thousands of YouTube viewers to send them a total of 15.31 BTC with the old ‘free giveaway’ trick.
Crypto scammers have stolen at least $150,000 by impersonating SpaceX YouTube accounts and creating fake bitcoin giveaways.
According to a June 9 report in Bleeping Computer, several scammers hacked into legitimate YouTube accounts and altered branding and content to mimic Elon Musk’s SpaceX channel.
The channel then broadcasts Musk’s archive footage as if it were a live broadcast and asks viewers to send Bitcoin (BTC). Bleeping Computer reports that at least 80,000 people watched the live stream, which has sent 15.31 BTC to scammers since June 8. One Bitcoin address received 29 transactions for 4.08 BTC — worth $39,840 at the time — while the other received 84 “Submissions” totaling 11.23 BTC, or nearly $110K.
It’s Not Cool!
Musk is aware that his name is being used to perpetuate such deception. In response to a different con job in February, the CEO tweeted that “the level of crypto fraud on Twitter is reaching new levels” and users should report fakes as soon as they see them.
However, report submission may not be sufficient for some platforms. Cybersecurity firm Tenable reported in February that there has been an “eternal cat-and-mouse game between Twitter and cryptocurrency scammers”. And the latter continue to modify their tactics to get BTC from unsuspecting victims.
Popular crypto figures are often imitated
With most of the public still interested in the historic launch of a private space vehicle built and launched from the United States on May 30, scammers know how to spot lucrative trends such as imitating Musk.
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has also been a popular target. Cointelegraph reported in March that Garlinghouse YouTube videos periodically appeared promoting 50 million fake XRP clones. Ripple deemed the platform’s response time in removing content to be insufficient and filed a lawsuit against YouTube in April.