Elon Musk's Photo Used Rampantly by Scammers to Promote Fake SpaceX Tokens on Twitter

Elon Musk's Photo Used Rampantly by Scammers to Promote Fake SpaceX Tokens on Twitter
Cover Image Source: GettyImages/Pool

With the rise of cryptocurrency and the popularity of Twitter, scammers have found an opportunity to exploit both platforms for their fraudulent activities. In recent times, the cryptocurrency community has been plagued by scams that involve using Elon Musk's image to promote fake SpaceX tokens. Despite efforts to address the issue, these scams continue to thrive on Twitter, deceiving unsuspecting users, reports Forbes. Let's delve into the details of one such scam that was recently observed and explore why these scams persist on the platform.

Getty Images | Hannibal Hanschke
Image Source: Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images

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The scam begins with a Twitter ad featuring a picture of Elon Musk with folded arms, accompanied by the enticing text, 'SpaceX Token Presale is Live.' The ad aims to lure users into clicking the link, leading them to a landing page designed to mimic a reputable news outlet or blog. This page falsely claims that Elon Musk has launched an official SpaceX Token and offers it for purchase at an attractive rate of '$1.70 per token.'

On closer inspection, several red flags emerge that expose the scam's true nature. Firstly, the Twitter account responsible for the ad is labeled as 'Verified,' giving it an appearance of authenticity. However, this verification process on Twitter has been discontinued, and individuals can easily purchase fake verification badges for a small fee. This opens the door for scammers to exploit the trust associated with verified accounts. Secondly, the content of the Twitter user's bio suggests it may have been generated automatically, lacking spaces between words, which is often an indication of a bot-created account. Such automated accounts make it easier for scammers to reach a wide audience without raising suspicions.

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The landing page where users are directed after clicking the ad is cunningly designed to resemble a legitimate news outlet or blog. The scammers have even hosted the domain at telegra.ph, creating the illusion of credibility by resembling the renowned British newspaper, The Telegraph. However, a closer look at the top-level domain reveals it belongs to the Philippines, immediately raising questions about its authenticity.

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Getty Images Justin Sullivan
Image Source; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The text on the landing page claims that Elon Musk has launched the official SpaceX Token with enticing promises of shaping the future of space exploration and blockchain technology. “Investing in SpaceX tokens not only gives you the chance to shape the future of space exploration and blockchain technology but also the opportunity to win incredible prizes, including a chance to go to Mars," reads the text. The page further entices users with the possibility of winning rewards from Tesla, the Boring Company, and Neuralink. However, these claims are entirely false and meant only to deceive gullible investors.

One might wonder why the scam ad doesn't directly link to the fake SpaceX page, and instead, it first takes users to a landing page like telegra.ph. The reason behind this tactic lies in evading Twitter's ad screening process. Twitter can blacklist direct links to known scam websites, making it harder for scammers to promote their fraudulent schemes. However, by directing users to an intermediary landing page, scammers can make it challenging for Twitter to block them effectively.

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These cyber scams have become disturbingly common, especially gift card scams, vouchers, text messages and email scams, and their prevalence on Twitter raises concerns about the security of the space. Unfortunately, the social media giant has been slow to respond to this issue and it remains unclear how much revenue Twitter might be generating from these fraudulent ads.


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