Celebrity impersonation scam – Scammers are using an age-old trick to reel in unsuspecting digital currency users with free ethereum tokens as bait.
In one of the latest scam reports, the miscreants have created a number of fake Twitter handles for various celebrities. They are using these accounts to spam the network with deceptive messages that deceive token holders into participating in supposed giveaways.
“Send a Little, Get a Lot”
Users are simply required to send a small token amount in the hopes of getting the sum several times over from the giveaway campaign. These spam messages adhere to the same basic pattern the only differences being the sum required and the wallet addresses.
Some of the fake Twitter accounts, as investigated by Bleeping Computer go back at least a fortnight. Calculations from the source show that the scammers deceived a number of crypto users into sending more than 7.6 ETH cumulatively, currently valued at more than $6,000.
Most of the activity surrounds fake accounts under the names of Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum founder, John McAfee of McAfee antivirus software and Elon Musk, the US entrepreneur who recently made headlines for launhing his rocket, the Falcon Heavy.
A Time-Tested Trick
The most disturbing part about the trick is that it has been around for more than three decades. Email spamming is tailored from the same cloth, as spammers use the biggest news of the day to trick account owners into visiting sites loaded with malware.
It is also notable that the tweets from these accounts were full of spelling mistakes and the returns promised were outrageous. The fact that there are numerous fake accounts representing varied entities is an indication that the scammer behind the ploy is casting as wide a net as possible.
According to Crane Hassold, a threat intelligence manager at PhishLabs Security Firm, “It’s like a social media impersonation mixed with a classic Nigerian prince scam. Twitter will likely start blocking the accounts making the posts, but the level of effort needed for this is so low that it’ll probably be a cat and mouse game.”
A researcher from the Dallas Hackers Association, Tinker, explains, “It’s all a statistics game. They aren’t targeting folks who need to be convinced, they’re targeting folks who will knee-jerk react. By lessening the length of the message, it makes the scam more consumable.”
“Combine that with impersonating famous people sending out popular tweets and the fall of bitcoin – folks are desperate to get a gain on their loss.”
Social media networks are rife with scams because so much of the communication and speculation surrounding the industry takes place on these platforms.
Such simple tricks never grow old as they take very little investment to pull off and almost always succeed. Barely a week ago, scammers used a phishing ploy to steal more than a million dollars’ worth of digital currency from would-be investors.
Fake Bee Token addresses sent out phishing emails urging investors to send ether to specified wallets in order to participate in the Initial Coin Offering for the new platform. Three such wallets were uncovered, cumulatively containing the above-mentioned amount.