Earlier in November this year, a verified Facebook page impersonating Elon Musk was running a successful Bitcoin scam. A lot of people fell prey to it, and why not, it was verified by Facebook, after all. Several media outlets got hold of the news and the scam was busted soon after. However, for people who know Elon Musk, it goes without saying that the SpaceX CEO has been away from Facebook and Instagram for as long as one can remember.
While the page was made unavailable on November 1, 7:26 PM ET, as reported by The Verge, the scam is not over yet. Another page impersonating Elon Musk, which is again verified by Facebook, is running a similar Bitcoin scam. The post which was made on November 22, 2021, at 7 AM IST, currently, has 1.3K likes, 477 comments and 55 shares.
Here is the link to the new Facebook page URL: https://www.facebook.com/Elonmuskofficis/
The case study exposing the impersonators running the Bitcoin scam was published by Ehraz Ahmed, a 25-year-old cybersecurity researcher.
Talking to Web News Observer, Ahmed said that the page might have been got verified by impersonating Aubrey Allegretti, who was a Political Reporter at Sky News.
“I think the scammers used fake documents to verify this page. The Page Transparency section shows that the page name has been changed 5 times. Initially, it went with some Arabic name. Later, it was changed to Aubrey Allegretti, who at that time was a Political Reporter at Sky News as per his LinkedIn profile, for verification. Even the About Section of the page states the same – Political Reporter at Sky News,” Ahmed said.
The page was created on May 18, 2014, and it underwent several name changes, just like the previous page, until it was finally renamed Elon Musk on November 10, 2021, along with his picture on the profile. Currently, the page has 34,382 followers with 7 posts.
Ahmed added that once the hackers were able to verify the account, they changed the name to Elon Musk and started scamming people.
“It all started with a suspicious Facebook post. The post just had two words, #ADA coin. The scam was being run in the comments section where the scammers asked people to send Bitcoins if they want to multiply it,” Ahmed said.
He added that people who are managing the page are from Europe. “Looking at the page transparency section, we can also learn that it is managed by people living in Spain and Germany,” Ahmed said.
The shocking fact, however, is that Ahmed believes that the page is managed by the same group which was responsible for the previous fake page of Elon Musk.
“The username is similar to the previous one except for the fact that it has ‘S’. Earlier it was Elonmuskoffici and now it goes by Elonmuskofficis. This might mean that it is the same group that is running the scam once again. A point to note is that last time the Page Bio mentioned that it was just a Fan Page, however, for the current page there’s no such disclaimer,” says Ahmed.
A name as big as Musk being used on Facebook to trick people into sending Bitcoin to a Cryptocurrency scam yet again is a reflection of the loopholes in the Facebook verification system which says that they follow a rigorous verification process.
It is not only on Facebook that scammers are using Elon Musk’s name to make easy money, Instagram, too, is their mode of conducting similar scams. However, these accounts are not verified.
While Bitcoin scams are not new, the fact that these malicious entities are able to play with the Facebook verification system and get these fake accounts verified is a matter of concern.
Update November 26th, 11:24PM IST: The page is no longer available.