The Economic Times
English EditionEnglish Editionहिन्दी
| E-Paper

    Bitcoin scam decoded: How hackers swindled Rs 89 lakh from Twitter users


    Always doubt schemes that offer an opportunity to make quick money in a short period.

    Bitcoin scam: How hackers got access to top Twitter accounts and why the incident matters
    Novice investors lost their hard-earned money on Wednesday after fake tweets about bitcoin went viral from verified Twitter accounts of big names including former US President Barack Obama, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

    Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Elon Musk were among the other high-profile personalities whose Twitter accounts became targets of a widespread hack that offered those fake bitcoin deals.

    Bezos, Gates and Musk are among the 10 richest people in the world, with millions of followers on the social networking website. At last count, the combined net worth of the three stood at $366 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. The value of 1 bitcoin is hovering at around $9,113.

    What’s the scam?
    Hackers broke into the high-profile Twitter accounts and sent fake tweets offering $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.

    For instance, the message sent from Elon Must's account said, “All bitcoins sent to my address below will be sent back double the amount. If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000.” Likewise, information spread from Bill Gates' Twitter handle said: "Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time. I am doubling all payments sent to my BTC address for the next 30 minutes. You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000."

    What expert say?
    Arjun Vijay, Co-Founder and COO, Giottus Cryptocurrency Exchange, said these kinds of scams have happened in the past. But never at this scale. "It was a well-coordinated attack, where multiple accounts got hacked at the same time, with the same tweets directing users to the same scam site. Unfortunately, more than 373 users fell for the scam globally, losing an estimated Rs 89 lakh before Twitter stepped in to remove the tweets.”

    Lessons for you
    There are no free lunches and no easy money. As an investor, you should always doubt information or schemes that offer to you an opportunity to make quick money in a very short period.

    “Hackers had complete access to Twitter. They could post anything from any account. But they chose to seek bitcoins through false promises. People should be more careful. Most crypto giveaways that ask for contributions are scams. We hope this brings awareness, and Twitter users do not fall for these kinds of scams again," said Vijay.

    Twitter and Security
    Twitter is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets”. In a series of tweets, Twitter said it believes the incident was a “coordinated social engineering attack” that targeted some of its employees with access to internal systems and tools. They were then used to take control of many high-profile and verified accounts and tweet from those.

    The social media services firm also said it immediately locked down the affected accounts and removed the tweets posted by the attackers. It also temporarily blocked verified users from tweeting while the company investigated the issue.

    Crypto expert Benson Samuel told that these types of scams happened from time to time. It has more to do with the security of users' Twitter accounts.

    “When the crypto boom started, a lot of people hacked accounts and asked others to send bitcoins to anonymous accounts. One should not pay attention to such tweets or information,” he said.
    (What's moving Sensex and Nifty Track latest market news, stock tips and expert advice on ETMarkets. Also, is now on Telegram. For fastest news alerts on financial markets, investment strategies and stocks alerts, subscribe to our Telegram feeds.)

    Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.

    Also Read

    32 Comments on this Story

    Carl Coffman2 hours ago
    Birman law or most of these recovery companies can't be of help. you need to either venture into the darknet and get a trusted hacker or reach out to B T C R E C O V E R Y 1 0 1 @ C O N S U L T A N T . C O M You’ll be surprised how things are done from that side of the internet. I got 2.9btc back in no time, gave him his share and it was an amazing feeling.
    Silvia Motter5 days ago
    B T C R E C O V E R Y 1 0 1 @ C O N S U L T A N T . C O M has helped victims from over 20 countries secure money they lost to wallet hacks and online fraud. File your restitution claim with them to have your issue handled the right way.
    hawoo Kim20 days ago
    Please beware there are many fake cryptocurrrency investment platforms out there, I got scammed twice before I met a genius hacker who helped retrieve my bitcoin. The whole plan was so smooth I could not doubt it. Bitcoin is actually a great investment option but one thing I discovered over time is that it is not possible to mine bitcoin so don’t be deceived. I invested 15BTC on a particular website called FoxBtc, I monitored the profit yielding but got locked out of the account before I could withdraw. I went online and met this recovery expert at recoverywealthnow360 on google mail who helped me retrieve my bitcoins back in few hours. He saved my life , he can save yours.
    The Economic Times