Fever for Cryptocurrencies, especially that Bitcoingot hackers to devise sophisticated methods to steal these digital assets. This is the story of Sebastian, a man who has lost 560 thousand dollars when falling into a Twitter scam through the fake representation of a supposed Elon Musk.
The victim told the BBC how he got into the Bitcoin scam, known as “Gift fraud”. It all started when Sebastian, a 42-year-old German, saw a mysterious tweet from the tycoon.
“”Musk tweeted ‘Dojo 4 Doge’ and I wondered what it meant “said the man. “There was a link to a new event below, so I clicked on it and saw that He gave away bitcoins!“”.
Like many viewers, Sebastian clicked the link and came to a website that seemed legitimate. There he found a countdown timer and a “contest” allegedly run by the team at Tesla. The dynamic consisted of Sending 0.1 bitcoins (with an approximate value of $ 6,000) up to 20 bitcoins (approximately $ 1.2 million), with the promise of double the amount At the end.
The man first invested in Bitcoin In 2017 the prices for the purchase of 40,000 cryptocurrencies rose by leaps and bounds over the years. At the time of the scam, his 10 bitcoins were roughly worth 560 thousand dollars (approximately 11.5 million Mexican pesos).
After checking the verification logo next to Elon Musk’s name, he decided to participate. ‘Take the maximum’ I thought, this is definitely real, so I sent 10 bitcoins“”says Sebastian.
This is what the tweets of the fake Elon Musk used to commit the Bitcoin fraud looked like. Credit: BONGKARN THANYAKIJ / EYEEM / BBC.
And the disappointment came …
The man excitedly waited 20 minutes for the timer to zero, but the award never fell into his wallet. Bitcoin.
“I then realized it was a big lie”continues Sebastian, who asked the BBC not to use his real name. “I threw myself upside down on the sofa cushions and my heart was pounding. I thought I had just thrown away my family’s lifesaver, my early retirement fund, and all the vacations with my kids. “.
Despite emails to the scammer’s website and tweets to the fake Elon Musk’s account, nothing could be done. Three weeks have passed and Sebastian is almost resigned that his money is gone forever.
Particularly Sebastian’s 10 bitcoins were the largest amount ever lost in a single transaction of this type confirmed Whale alert, an Amsterdam-based blockchain analytics company.
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The boom of bitcoin scams
According to analysts during the first quarter of 2021 Fraud gangs have more than earned $ 18 million so. This amount exceeds $ 16 million that’s what they got throughout 2020.
In terms of the number of victims, around 10,500 people in 2020 They fell for this type of fraud. So far, however 2021 you already registered 5,600 victims (and rising).
While Fraud Methods They are getting more and more sophisticated, one of the most common is the one Sebastian got caught in.
This consists of Create Twitter accounts pose as personalities like Elon Musk. In some cases, criminals use it stolen accounts from celebrities who already have the “verified blue tick” appear to be legitimate and trustworthy. Then they wait for the real accounts to tweet and post a response with the invitation to cheat, which appears to have been made by the famous person in question.
Even though Twitter is the favorite platform for ‘Gift fraud‘also rave in other networks such as Youtube, Facebook, Instagram And until Whatsapp.
in the July 2020 It has been done the most notorious bitcoin scam, as a hacker on the Twitter accounts of celebrities such as Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian Y. Elon Musk. Of these, they invited millions of followers to send bitcoins with the promise of giving them back double. In the end, cyber criminals did more than steal Bitcoin worth $ 118,000 and three people were arrested.
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With information from the BBC.