Imposters posing as notorious billionaire Elon Musk are raising money millions of dollars through internet scams in which they deceive users with tempting cryptocurrency operations that they never materialize.
Musk recently became the figure whose identity is most impersonated on social networks to cajole the unwary and steal thousands of dollars with propositions “too good to be true”Cybersecurity expert Satnam Narang, who works as a researcher for the Tenable firm, told Efe.
The method is almost always the same: the scammer poses as a public figure linked to the world of cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Dogecoin and advertises on social media a supposedly philanthropic operation that will double the value of anyone who send money to a specific address.
The modality is very similar to what happened last year, when cybercriminals managed to hack accounts of well-known personalities such as Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.
The tweet that was used last year to scam through cryptocurrencies. Photo Twitter
The victims believe they recognize the issuer for his popularity, and trust the legitimacy of the network because it is usual that billionaires like Elon Musk act eccentric, and even that they carry out similar operations with the aim of achieving publicity or raising funds for a specific cause.
However, once the user sends the money, he not only does not duplicate it, but loses it, and given the international and decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, as well as the lack of regulation in this area, it is impossible for him to claim and recover the investment.
Juicy but dangerous opportunity
Crypto scams grew in 2021. Photo EFE
“With the high value that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin reached in recent months, many people feel like they missed an opportunity to make a lucrative investment. This feeling is what scammers take advantage of to lure them into this sector and deceive them, “says Narang.
In the most recent hoax he investigated, cyber scammers created a fake digital currency that they christened Spacex (the name of the aerospace company founded by Musk), who advertise through paid ads on popular portals such as YouTube, and falsely claim that Musk is his promoter.
According to their estimates (all operations with cryptocurrencies are transparent), the scammers would have obtained around a million dollars from unsuspecting Internet users through this network.
How many identity theft They are choosing Musk in recent times for their scams is not by chance: Tesla’s CEO became the most popular figure in the world of cryptocurrencies, and every time he talks about them their value plummets or soars as they are interpreted his words.
Ten million in fraud
Millionaire figures for scammers. AFP photo
In early May, coinciding with Musk’s much-anticipated and much-talked-about appearance on the US television program Saturday Night Live, the scams linked to this figure reached a fever pitch, and Tenable estimates that in total the fraudsters pocketed up to $ 10 million, promoting their messages on platforms such as Twitter and YouTube.
With a career of more than fifteen years in this sector, Narang has a fundamental advice to avoid being a victim of this type of scams: “If the operation generates doubtsIf you are not sure that it is legitimate, do not send money. Better to pass up an opportunity to earn money than to lose the one you already have. “
He also insists on always going to the original source, that is, the official and registered account of Elon Musk’s Twitter, for example, or SpaceX’s YouTube channel.
Because as you warn, “anyone can create web pages, social media accounts and even new cryptocurrencies and impersonating someone you are not. “
With information from EFE