Scammers Posing as Michael Saylor Steal Over $1 Million Bitcoin
26 Bitcoin Lost to a Fake Giveaway Scam
Whale Alert, a Twitter account that tracks large crypto transactions, first reported the scam. It described it as the single largest payment to a fake giveaway. The fraud was perpetrated through YouTube and a website, ms22.
— Whale Alert (@whale_alert) January 15, 2022
According to Whale Alert, the Bitcoins were likely sent from a Coinbase wallet. Once the scammers received the funds, they disabled the website and the YouTube channel. Based on transaction records, the BTC was sent in five transactions.
This isn’t the first time that a scam like this would happen. In fact, it’s quite prevalent in the industry for illicit actors to use the identity of popular figures, agencies, and companies for theft.
Last year, impersonators of Elon Musk stole more than $2 million in a fake giveaway scam. The modus operandi is to ask individuals to send cryptocurrencies with the promise of doubling it for them.
Crypto Scammers Keep Evolving Their Strategies
While YouTube keeps trying to curb the use of its platform for scams, the scammers, however, are unrelenting as they continue to create more fake videos on the site. A similar occurrence in November resulted in the loss of 3 Bitcoin by an unsuspecting victim.
489 of these scams were launched on YouTube last week. We report them every 15 minutes and they are taken down after a few hours, but the scammers just launch more…
— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) January 16, 2022
Speaking on why people keep falling for these scams, Whale Alert pointed out that the schemes are becoming more professional, making it easy to deceive people. Already, over $800 million worth of digital assets has been lost to scams of this nature.
Apart from scam giveaways, crypto crimes have also come in other forms, from hacks to rug pulls. The lack of concrete regulations makes it hard to trace and punish the criminals in most cases.
But with the increasing interest of regulators in the space, the criminals might soon find it more difficult to get away with their crimes.
It’s highly unlikely that this event would affect Bitcoin price movement. With crypto scams in billions happening annually, this is unlikely to influence the asset. The coin has been bearish for a while along with the overall market and it currently trades around $42,900.