In an effort to curb the cryptocurrency “giveaway” scam epidemic, Twitter will lock your account if you are not verified and change you display name to Elon Musk.
Crypto-scammers and blockchain bandits are on the rise, and they will try anything to swindle unwitting victims into sending or wiring them funds – including pretending to be Musk himself.
Twitter is growing tired of the ever-increasing number of bots programmed to obscure their true identity and peddle fraudulent giveaway links. Typically, these bots will pose as Musk (or other crypto-celebs) and reply to legitimate tweets from the Tesla top dog, so they look like genuine replies. As ever, the bots promise a swift rise to riches involving some kind of cryptocurrency. Of course, none of that is true.
#Crypto scammers posing as John McAfee and Elon Musk on Twitter to steal #bitcoin. Please beware and don't believe such "too good to be true" giveaway offers. Nobody will give u free coins.. period! @officialmcafee#Ethereum#ScamAlert#CryptoScampic.twitter.com/h3MHZvGxgQ
— Alvin Foo (@alvinfoo) February 11, 2018
Blocking your account when you change your name to Musk’s is not a water tight fix. So long as you can verify your account with a phone number and get through the captcha, you can regain access to your account and have your display name as anything you please.
In a statement to The Verge, a Twitter spokesperson said, “As part of our continuing efforts to combat spam and malicious activity on our service, we’re testing new measures to challenge accounts that use terms commonly associated with spam campaigns. We are continually refining these detections based on changes in spammy activity.”
To anyone savvy in tech or online fraud, you’ll probably notice a reduction of sorts in the spammy tweets pretending to be Elon, but you probably weren’t being caught out anyway. To those less savvy though, it hopefully should lessen the number of instances where unwitting victims are drawn into illegitimate offers of potential riches.
In the meantime, stay alert and remember: even seemingly trustworthy accounts might be out to get you.