Scammers are circulating a fake tweet, purportedly from Donald Trump, claiming to offer a free Bitcoin and Ethereum giveaway. This scam directs victims to a website where they are directed to send crypto in return for larger sums.
SCAM IS BASED IN RUSSIA
The website associated with this scam is registered in Russia, and went live on February 8th. Fortunately, neither the Bitcoin nor the Ethereum addresses presented to the public have yet to receive any funds.
It is laughable to assume that President Trump would own, much less give away, cryptocurrency. He is an outspoken critic of blockchain assets, along with most elected U.S. officials. Trump last tweeted about Bitcoin in July:
I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
This current tweet imitates one proliferating a few days ago claiming to be from Elon Musk. The fake website has a similar design, and the domain names appear to have been registered by the same individuals. As with the fake Donald Trump website, no crypto has been sent to the addresses provided by the thieves.
CRYPTO THIEVES ARE BECOMING MORE ACTIVE
Cryptocurrency scams have existed for years, and they are growing in number as adoption of cryptocurrency increases. The scammers frequently impersonate public figures, offering giveaways and rewards. In fact, Elon Musk’s name has been used so frequently that he recently addressed the topic:
The crypto scam level on Twitter is reaching new levels. This is not cool.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 1, 2020
Another common one last year invoked the name of John McAfee, which prompted replies from the real McAfee and his wife:
Entire articles now being written by scammers claiming to be me, saying I'm giving away Bitcoin and Ethereum (Your choice apparenly). Are people really this stupid? If so, I'm resigning from the human race. No one gives anything for free, people, least of all – me! https://t.co/cBFhKybPMd
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) August 12, 2019
Scammers are also known to advertise ponzi schemes and bogus investment funds promising huge returns. Some have even created fake exchanges, airdrops, and initial coin offerings (ICOs), all in an attempt to convince victims to send them crypto.
Stopping these fraudulent operations will not be easy. Although they can come from anywhere, most originate in Russia, where the government has little interest in bringing the thieves to justice. Also, the borderless and quasi-anonymous nature of blockchain technology makes running these scams very simple.
The most notable reason for the growth of crypto scams is the simple fact that they work. Although it is fortunate that the current one pretending to be Donald Trump appears to have failed, others have made small fortunes for the thieves involved.
It is important to note that Bitcoin and most other blockchain transactions are decentralized, and cannot be reversed. Thus, always be very careful when choosing to send funds. Never send cryptocurrency to individuals or groups claiming to offer free money in return.
Who do you think crypto twitter scammers will target next? Let us know in the comments below!
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @officialmcafee @elonmusk @realDonaldTrump