Fake Elon Musk cryptocurrency giveaways swarm TikTok

The rising tide of TikTok crypto scams

Fake Elon Musk cryptocurrency giveaways swarm TikTokCybercriminals take advantage of TikTok's growing popularity

The creativity of con artists attempting to take advantage of TikTok's enormous user base grows along with the platform's popularity. While sites like Instagram and Twitter have long been plagued by money-flipping frauds, TikTok is currently dealing with a flood of fraudulent bitcoin giveaways. These frauds lure naive people into their trap by promising to turn a small investment into a fortune in a matter of seconds.

The Elon Musk impersonation game

Cybercriminals have long preferred impersonating well-known individuals, and the cryptocurrency industry is no exception. Threat actors have been organizing phony Bitcoin giveaways on several social media channels, with Elon Musk impersonations[1] and those of his affiliated enterprises Tesla and SpaceX now being popular. The strategies are intended to trick people into thinking they are taking part in an actual giveaway created by the successful businessman.

The con artists take a multifaceted approach, building hundreds of websites that pretend to be cryptocurrency exchanges or venues for giveaways. To claim their “free” cryptocurrency, customers are prompted to create accounts on these bogus websites. Unfortunately, the promised cryptocurrency never appears; instead, the con artists steal consumers' deposits, leaving the victims with nothing.

Even though it might seem improbable that so many people could fall for these scams, the truth is really different. Such frauds have in the past been successful in stealing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from gullible social media users. These con artists have discovered an ideal environment to grow their businesses thanks to TikTok's explosive growth in popularity.

How TikTok crypto scams deceive and steal

With fresh videos appearing practically every day, these bogus cryptocurrency offers on TikTok are relentless and repeated. Typically, these clips show Elon Musk appearing to be interviewed on major news networks while promoting the most recent cryptocurrency giveaway. Some videos adopt a more direct strategy, guiding viewers on how to go to a certain website and input a coupon code to get “free” Bitcoin.

The scammers behind these schemes strategically choose website domains that closely resemble legitimate ones, making it easier to deceive users. Examples include domains like bitoxies[.]com, moonexio[.]com, altgetxio[.]com, and cratopex[.]com. Users are lured into signing up for an account and entering the offered promo code in order to take part in these fraudulent giveaways with the promise of receiving Bitcoin deposits into their wallets.

However, the deception continues. The fraudulent website falsely offers to deposit Bitcoin into users' wallets once they enter the code. For instance, a fraudulent website can claim to deposit 0.34 Bitcoin, or almost $9,000, in your account. The catch is that users must first activate their accounts by depositing 0.005 Bitcoins, or around $132, in order to complete the procedure and withdraw the supposedly free Bitcoins. Since users would never get any Bitcoins in return, the scammers make their money from this initial “activation” transaction. Additionally, users are asked for Know Your Customer (KYC) information, which threat actors may use to get into other genuine Bitcoin accounts.

These frauds are unlikely to disappear anytime soon given the large revenues they can bring in for online crooks. Even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning, claiming that since October 2020, $80 million[2] has been lost to cryptocurrency investment frauds. The Better Business Bureau[3] has issued a warning about Gitcoin fraud on TikTok as well.

Users must now proceed with the utmost caution and suspicion when encountering cryptocurrency giveaways in light of recent developments, especially those that seem to be affiliated with Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX, Ark Invest, Gemini, and other well-known companies. Any bitcoin supplied to these frauds, whether in emails, videos, tweets, or other social media messages, is almost certainly going to be stolen, leaving the sender with nothing.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

Gabriel E. Hall is a passionate malware researcher who has been working for 2-spyware for almost a decade.

Contact Gabriel E. Hall
About the company Esolutions