Social media site Twitter has long been susceptible to hacking, while warnings have surfaced for years about the high risk of cryptocurrency scams. The combination of Twitter hacking and Bitcoin fraud seems to have presented a perfect opportunity for scammers.

Reports surfaced Monday that Bitcoin scammers had hacked into several Twitter company accounts to make them appear as though they had been taken over by Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk. The idea was to use Musk's name to trick users into believing it was a real giveaway promotion.



Some of the hacked Twitter accounts were owned by the companies Pathe UK, Matalan, and Pantheon Books. The accounts were popular and verified.

Once they were hacked, the scammers changed the account names to Musk and uploaded images of him. They then ran a paid ad on Twitter to promote a bitcoin scam in which they offered to send one to 10 bitcoins if someone sent them a tenth of one to a full one.

But the scammers would not send anything in return once they had been sent bitcoin.

This type of scam is reportedly a common one in the cryptocurrency market space. It takes advantage of the appearance of a legitimate promotional giveaway to entice interested parties into sending cryptos to the scammers.



“Being able to hijack verified accounts is a potential goldmine for crypto scammers banking on the visibility of the Tesla CEO," said Chris Boyd, an employee at Malwarebytes.

Another trick the scammers used to make the giveaway seem real was to have various Twitter accounts respond positively to the fake offer. These were also legitimate accounts that had been temporarily taken over by the scammers to respond with fake messages of support or interest.



Though the fraudulent efforts were caught and shut down fairly rapidly, it was reported by ZDNet that the scammers might have ripped off about $180,000 worth of bitcoin from people they had conned. The film company Pathe UK took back control of its account and issued a public statement on Twitter about the unscrupulous activity.

Proving that many Twitter users are savvy about such scam attempts, a number of them who noticed the bogus activity called it out on the social media platform. Some even warned others to steer clear of the fake promotion.