A week ago, several verified accounts on Twitter were hacked as part of a scam to steal bitcoin from unwitting mopes by utilizing Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s name, and reportedly made off with at least $180,000. On Monday, the hackers were back at it, taking control of several hacked accounts—including a book publisher and a clothing company—to promote the scam.
The ploy rippled across Twitter in short order because the scammed tweets were promoted—purchased by an advertiser to boost their reach—giving them a much wider audience of unsuspecting dupes who didn’t realize fast enough that it wasn’t the real Musk hopping on the crypto bandwagon.
And indeed, the hackers’ effort has been successful. One report last week noted it netted at least 28 bitcoins—which roughly equals out to $180,000, depending on the wildly fluctuating value of bitcoin on any given day.
Musk impersonators became such an issue previously that Twitter started banning anyone who changed their name to the Tesla CEO. As Slate pointed out last week, the hackers may have found an end-run by changing the ‘l’ in his name to a similar character.
Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The account for Farah’s Mens Wear no longer had Musk as its main avatar by mid-day Monday, but the scam tweets were still being boosted by the account. A Twitter spokesperson only told us that impersonating another individual to deceive others violates the company’s rules, and it claims that efforts to tackle crytpocurrency scams has improved in recent weeks.
All told, read past the blue checkmark and don’t fall for this.