KEY POINTS

  • Names of Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro are being used to trick investors into participating in a fake Bitcoin giveaway campaign
  • At current BTC prices, the scam has amassed $31,605
  • Victims are enticed to send between 0.1 BTC to 10 BTC so they can receive two times the amount they sent

Scammers are using the names of comedian Joe Rogan and commentator Ben Shapiro to entice investors in a fake Bitcoin giveaway campaign. The scheme has collected $31,605 so far and victims sent in an average of $6,188 per transaction.

The Twitter bot Whale Alert warned the crypto community about the ongoing scam, wherein victims were led to believe that Rogan and Shapiro were running a 5,000 BTC giveaway campaign in order to speed up the process of cryptocurrency mass adoption. 

The victims were enticed to send between 0.1 BTC to 10 BTC so that they can receive two times the amount they sent. So if the victim sent 0.2 BTC, they were led to believe that they would receive 0.2 BTC back to the Bitcoin address they used to send the coins from.

Only that the "return" will not happen in the first place. In the fake Bitcoin giveaway scam, victims would not receive any BTC after they sent in theirs.

Bitcoin scams have been rampant since the first cryptocurrency’s inception. Rogan and Shapiro aren’t the only celebrities who scammers use to take crypto from victims.

Just last month, scammers ran multiple fake live streams on YouTube related to SpaceX’s historic launch in space. During the live stream, scammers displayed a QR code prominently on the screen where users are enticed to send 0.2 BTC to receive 0.4 BTC. One of the wallets used to receive money from the scam has amassed 7.64 BTC from victims. At today’s prices, that amount is worth $71,865.

The SpaceX BTC fake giveaway scam is unique because it used "vanity" addresses, which are Bitcoin addresses that contain the name of the person they are using as bait. The Bitcoin address used for the scam has the name of SpaceX founder Elon Musk in it, making it more believable.

The scammers also used celebrities who either can actually afford to run such giveaway or those who, at one point, professed their inclination toward Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies. While Musk said he only owned 0.25 BTC, he jokingly said last year that he’s the CEO of Dogecoin, the decentralized project now back in the news after being the subject of viral TikTok videos. 

Rogan recently signed a multi-year licensing deal with Spotify, reportedly worth around $100 million. 

Shapiro, at one point, mentioned Bitcoin on "The Ben Shapiro Show", and called out President Donald Trump when the latter posted on Twitter last year that he wasn’t a fan of Bitcoin, whose value he believed was based on "thin air". To which Shapiro argued that the government also manipulates currency values. “Independent forms of currency not subject to the political whims of powerful people are good,” Shapiro said on Twitter.

Joe Rogan (pictured February 2020) hosts the most downloaded podcast in the United States Joe Rogan (pictured February 2020) hosts the most downloaded podcast in the United States Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / RONALD MARTINEZ