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Last night, scammers successfully tricked people into giving them Etherium, a cryptocurrency worth $850, the second largest behind Bitcoin.
There isn’t much to the scam, yet it reportedly fooled many trusting users into throwing away their hard-earned digital coins. All the scammers used to fool people was an innocent tweet posted by Elon Musk. In this case, a message about the satellites SpaceX plans to shoot into space as part of its PAZ mission.
Today’s Falcon launch carries 2 SpaceX test satellites for global broadband. If successful, Starlink constellation will serve least served.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 21, 2018
The con artists, using an account that mimicks Musk’s, then quickly wrote a reply to the tweet, making it appear as if it came from the business magnate himself.
To rejoice this, I am giving awaу 5,000 ЕTH to my followers!
To pаrtiсipаte, just sеnd .5-one ЕTH to the address bеlow and gеt 5-10 ЕTH back to the address you utilized for the transaсtion.
ЕТH Аddress: https://t.co/V6eT67znml
If you are latе, yоur EТH will bе despatched back.
Those who took a few seconds to investigate the account noticed something was off. While it had the same profile image as Musk, its username was slightly different: @elonlmusk vs. @elonmusk. A quick glance and you might have missed the “L” hiding in the middle of the name.
To further convince people the unreasonable offer is legit, the scammers had other accounts reply to the post. For example:
And now-suspended account @MattMar46412834 wrote, “Thаnk you! I sеnt 0.7 ЕТH and got 7 EТH as wеll. That’s so awesome Elon 🙌🏻👍🏻” and posted an image that appears to show them receiving Ether from an account linked to Musk.
Sadly, the scam seems to be working. As Mashable points out, a look at Etherscan, a cryptocurrency information service, shows the receiving ETH address gained nearly $40,000 of Etherium in a matter of hours.
Replying to furious Twitter users, Musk said he reached out to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, “Not sure. I let @jack know, but it’s still going. I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25BTC that a friend sent me many years ago,” he wrote.
Not sure. I let @jack know, but it’s still going. I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25 BTC that a friend sent me many years ago.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2018
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.