A recent cryptocurrency scam running live on YouTube managed to dupe nearly $150,000 in Bitcoin from victims. Interestingly, the scam impersonated Elon Musk’s SpaceX channel and broadcasted recorded videos of the recent successful launch of two astronauts to the International Space Station.
SpaceX And BTC Giveaway Scam
Fraudsters are frequently attempting to dupe victims with a form of a cryptocurrency giveaway. Oftentimes, they use a widely-popular current event to connect with the fake giveaway. As such, it’s not surprising that the latest one involved the famous Falcon 9 liftoff carrying SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule into orbit.
Scammers hijacked three YouTube channels, impersonated the real SpaceX channel, and offered compelling Bitcoin giveaways. While advertising that they are broadcasting live-stream footage from the flight into space, they asked the audience to send bitcoins and promised to double their investments.
Although this proposition sounds like a classic scam, it turns out that some people actually fell for it and sent bitcoins, according to the report. It informs that at one point, over 80,000 people watched the live streams, and the scam had generated almost $150,000 in BTC since June 8th.
The live streams contained two Bitcoin addresses. The first one had initially received 29 transactions, totaling at over 4 BTC (worth nearly $40,000). The other one was more successful and got 84 transactions with over 11 BTC, worth about $110,000.
The report says that the scam generated this amount in just two days by simply live-streaming recorded Elon Musk videos. Although the streams have been deleted and the hijacked channels restored to their rightful owners, the Bitcoin addresses continue to show activity in sending and even receiving funds today as well.
Crypto-Related Scams Grow
Impersonating famous people for a Bitcoin scam reached even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – Harry and Meghan. By exploiting their recent decision to step back as senior members of the Royal Family, scammers ran seemingly fake ads and quotes from the couple, urging people to invest in a suspicious auto-trading program called Bitcoin Evolution.
During the most intense days of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing levels of panic in people, fraudsters created numerous virus-related scams duping victims into sending bitcoins. They did it by impersonating WHO charity organizations and by sending thousands of phishing emails.
As a result, a recent report concluded that in the first five months of 2020, cryptocurrency thefts, hacks, and primarily frauds totaled $1.4 billion. Coronavirus scams ranked at second place, trailing only to the Chinese Ponzi scheme – WoToken.