June 17, 2024

SpaceX Crypto Scams With Elon Musk’s Face Still Trending On Twitter

After Elon Musk bought Twitter in October 2022, I began to notice a large increase in scammers trying to sell cryptocurrency using photos of the billionaire. I wrote about the problem back in January, February and March. But Twitter is still full of the same scams. So let’s look at the one I saw yesterday.

A so-called “verified” user on Twitter bought the crypto ad at an account called Mr. Chips. The problem, of course, is that Twitter no longer verifies the identity of any user on the platform. Musk decided to charge $8 a month for the blue check mark, meaning anyone with a few dollars can buy “verification”.

The Twitter user’s biography consists of a handful of words without spaces, which could indicate that it was created in an automated way: “Son, husband, father, grandfather – I learn something new every day!”

The Twitter announcement features a photo of Musk with his arms folded and the words “SpaceX Token Presale is Live”. Clicking on the ad takes the user to a landing page made to look like a news outlet or blog. The domain is even hosted by telegra.ph, which is likely to look like a reputable news site like The Telegraph, a British newspaper. But the .ph top-level domain belongs to the country of the Philippines.

The text of the landing page claims that Elon Musk has announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency token associated with SpaceX, which is not true.

“New news for all crypto investors around the world! The visionary CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has just announced the official launch of the SpaceX Token, and the Pre-Sale is now open for a limited time only,” the website reads.

The website explains that people can buy the crypto for “$1.70 per token,” suggesting that it is some kind of deal.

“ Investing in the SpaceX Token not only offers the opportunity to shape the future of space exploration and blockchain technology, but also the opportunity to win incredible prizes, including a chance to visit Mars. Lucky winners will have a chance to win prizes from Tesla, the Boring Company, and Neuralink, as well as an exclusive trip to the Red Planet,” the fake news outlet page reads.

If that all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. The landing page also has a link to direct users to an area where they can buy the crypto scam. That website, hosted by spacexcrypto.com, is arguably far more polished than the fake Telegraph page.

Why is there a landing page at all? Why isn’t the Twitter ad just direct to the fake SpaceX page? I suspect it has to do with the way Twitter filters ads. Twitter can probably blacklist any ads that link to a site like spacexcrypto.com, which is where the current scam comes from. But by first directing the user to a site like telegra.ph, or any number of other news-themed landing pages set up by the scammers, it’s harder to block the scammers.

As I mentioned, I have seen a lot of these scam ads this year. It’s unclear how much money Twitter could be making using these scams. Twitter did not respond to emailed questions on Sunday. I will update this article if I hear back.

Whatever you do, don’t try to buy SpaceX crypto. It’s a scam. And because of how popular the ads are on Twitter, it’s a scam that some people are bound to fall for.

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