Twitter Struggles to Tackle Fake Elon Musk Accounts Promoting Bitcoin Scams


Several popular verified Twitter accounts have been hacked by scammers to promote Bitcoin scam impersonating the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk.

November 12, 2018 | AtoZ Markets - It seems scammers have hacked several verified Twitter accounts to promote fake cryptocurrency ad under the disguise of Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. According to the news, the impostors were looking to capitalise on the crypto craze.

What Scammers do After Compromising Verified Twitter Accounts

After gaining access into these verified accounts, the scammers would change the profile name to “Elon Musk” and then replace the profile picture to Musk’s current photo in order to impersonate the CEO. So as to give the impression of legitimacy, scammers would begin tweeting, making posts in comment threads that were started by the real Elon Musk.

Some of the scammer's tweets said that the Tesla boss was conducting “the biggest” crypto-giveaway in the world and then provided a link to participate in the giveaway that requires users to part with some of their cryptocurrency to the scammer.

Twitter has made several attempts to tackle these scams by blocking accounts without mobile verification from adding “Elon Musk” into their display name.

Still, scammers have bypassed these Twitter security measures, sometimes by subtly using different characters in the name, while still maintaining a display name that appears to be “Elon Musk” at first glance, thus precluding Twitter from flagging the account automatically.

Fake Elon Musk Bitcoin Scam spreads

While scammers have been compromising verified Twitter accounts to spread fake BTC giveaway links for months now, the trend seems to have recently intensified.

Last week, hackers reportedly hijacked several different accounts, as well as those of US politician Frank Pallone Jr, British fashion retailer Matalan, and film production firm Pathe UK. The film studio's Twitter account was hacked and was used for fake Elon Musk crypto scams.

The scam artists subtly changed the “l” in “Elon” to a different character, so the account name wouldn’t get flagged automatically by Twitter. The following screenshot shows a compromised Pathe UK account:

Elon musk pathe

After the incidence, Pathe UK issued a statement to confirm that their account was "hacked by an unknown third party" but later stated that it has regained control of their account, and deleted the fake Musk tweets.

Pantheon Books is also a victim to a fake Musk hack. Nevertheless, its profile picture has since been deleted and its display name has been changed to “.”

Twitter Has Substantially Improved

A Twitter spokesperson stated that the firm does not comment on individual accounts, but has offered the following statement:

“Impersonating another individual to deceive users is a clear violation of the Twitter Rules.Twitter has also substantially improved how we tackle cryptocurrency scams on the platform. In recent weeks, user impressions have fallen by a multiple of 10 in recent weeks as we continue to invest in more proactive tools to detect spammy and malicious activity. This is a significant improvement on previous action rates.”

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