Despite October being European Cyber Security Month (ECSM), it didn’t stop scammers using social media to try and con people out of their hard earned Bitcoin. The scam itself has been running since March and broadly involves hackers taking over a twitter account, renaming it to “Elon Musk” and then posting a message along the lines of:

"I'm giving 5 000 Bitcoin (BTC) to all community!", reads the tweet promoted from Florence's account. "I decided to make the biggest crypto-giveaway in the world, for all my readers who use Bitcoin. I left the post of director of Tesla, thank you all for your support!" The message includes a bitcoin address to send a small payment to "verify your address".

Fortunately, this original scam didn’t seem to fool many people - the name ‘Elon Musk’ from the hacked accounts still had their original twitter handles (as opposed to the official @elonmusk handle).

But the scam appears to have morphed into something much more sophisticated recently. As well as changing the name, they are updating the picture with a photo of Mr Musk and the hackers are targeting ‘Verified’ twitter accounts (the ones with the Blue Tick icons) as these are seen by many people as being more trustworthy.  One such account belonged to the UK division of film distribution Pathe:

As well as asking for cryptocurrency payments, the hacked accounts are also offering money to anyone who re-tweets the message, thus multiplying the scam even further afield. The story took a further twist when the real Elon Musk temporarily had his twitter account suspended for tweeting (as a joke) “Wanna buy some Bitcoin? ;-)”.