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Bitcoin scammers fake Elon Musk’s SpaceX YouTube channel to steal 150K worth of BTC

Scammers were able to get away with loot worth $150K in BTC.

MichaelWuensch / Pixabay

Thu, 11 Jun 2020, 09:43 am UTC

Bitcoin scammers stole around $150,000 worth of BTC in the past week but targeting unsuspecting YouTube users. The hackers hijacked YouTube accounts, impersonated SpaceX’s channel, and hosted fake Bitcoin giveaways, according to Cointelegraph.

The scammers were able to take over legitimate YouTube accounts before changing their content and branding to make them look like the channel of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, according to Newsweek. The tampered channels then broadcasted archived footage of Musk that showed him speaking at conferences as well as during the launch of the Demo-2 test flight.

Taking over legitimate accounts and changing the branding to reflect Elon Musk's rocket company, the unidentified scammers were caught live streaming footage of the founder speaking at conferences and during the historic Demo-2 test flight launch.

The streams offered a fake bitcoin giveaway where donors were promised that they will later receive twice the amount of cryptocurrency they donated. Investigators say that the scheme was able to fool some of the YouTube viewers who made 113 donations for a total of around $150,000 worth of BTC.

One of the wallets used by the scammers received 29 transactions for a total of 4.08 BTC or around $39,840. A second wallet was also traced which received 84 “donations” amounting to 11.23 BTC or around $110,000.

“I was scammed yesterday 06/04/20 by a video allegedly from SpaceX,” one victim wrote on YouTube Help forums. “It was a live broadcast, titled 5000 Bitcoin Giveaway. It was about something about SpaceX, it had a bunch of people and Elon Musk was there.”

Elon Musk’s name has been used by scammers in previous schemes on Twitter. “The crypto scam level on Twitter is reaching new levels. This is not cool,” the SpaceX CEO commented back in February. Aside from Musk, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse’s name has been used by scammers in the past as well.

The affected YouTube accounts were already removed from the video-sharing platform as they violate the terms of service. The site doesn’t allow videos “intended to stream content that belongs to somebody else and are not corrected following repeated warnings of possible abuse.”

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