January this year saw an influx of fake Twitter accounts, many posing as creator of Litecoin (LTC) Charlie Lee, offering fake LTC giveaways. This lead to the real Lee tweeting a warning about the scammer accounts.
PSA: Please be wary of this Twitter scam going on right now. After every of my post, there will an immediate reply by a scammer promising to give away coins if you send him some. The post looks like it’s from me. Blocking them doesn’t help, b/c they just create another account. pic.twitter.com/qPHxKntPHD
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) 30 January 2018
Scams evolve despite backlash
The scams continued, however, impersonating other technology influencers including PayPal founder Elon Musk. In February, in an attempt to completely distance himself from all fake accounts, Musk announced he owned no cryptocurrencies.
Not sure. I let @jack know, but it’s still going. I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25 BTC that a friend sent me many years ago.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 22 February 2018
Now Musk has taken to Twitter in a surprising move that saw the scammed Tesla and SpaceX CEO praise the “mad skillz” of the Twitter bot criminals. However, considering the post was a response to a poorly worded clumsy scam attempt, the tweet was in all likelihood sarcastic.
I want to know who is running the Etherium scambots! Mad skillz …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 8 July 2018
Ethereum and Bitcoin co-founder Vitalik Buterin has also addressed his impersonators in previous tweets. The programmer has even added the words “Not giving away ETH” to his Twitter bio.
If you get an email that looks like it’s from me asking for ETH, please do NOT send. Either contact me first or if you’re lazy just assume it’s a fraud.
— Vitalik “Not giving away ETH” Buterin (@VitalikButerin) 22 January 2018
Buterin, however, seemed disappointed in Musk’s latest post, stating he wished the CEO’s first mention of Ethereum would have addressed the technology rather than scammers. He also pleaded with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to assist with the ongoing seemingly unstoppable scams.
I do wish @elonmusk‘s first tweet about ethereum was about the tech rather than the twitter scambots……..@jack help us please? Or someone from the ETH community make a layer 2 scam filtering solution, please? https://t.co/biVRshZmne
— Vitalik “Not giving away ETH” Buterin (@VitalikButerin) 9 July 2018
Buterin has also pinned a tweet from July 5th on his account outlining his real active social media accounts to avoid confusion with any fakes. It seems the programmer is taking every measure he can to protect himself.
There may be a few smaller ones but nothing mainstream. Everything else I either don’t use or is a scam.
— Vitalik “Not giving away ETH” Buterin (@VitalikButerin) 5 July 2018
Ironically or rather sadly, all of Buterin’s posts relating to the scams were followed by further scam replies of giveaways. This problem, it seems, is here to last for a while.
— Vitalik “Not giving away ETH” Buterin (@AarushiYelvert1) 7 July 2018