Ulog: See Just How Sophisticated This Fake ‘Elon Musk’ Crypto Giveaway Scam Is!!! — Surpassinggoogle
In this short publication, we will tackle the most simple yet sophisticated “Elon Musk (Impersonation) Cryptocurrency Giveaway Scam”. It is ongoing currently.
Here is a video copy of this post incase you prefer one:
Note: the logic for the scam-plot discussed in this publication applies to all other forms of ‘impersonatory giveaway-scams’ in existence on the internet.
It is growing ever common these days, that scammers are easily, realistically and believably able to tie their scam-efforts with ‘renown people’ and well, ‘renown enterprises’ too!
These days, with a small AD-budget, scammers can subtly derive endorsement from renown enterprises like ‘Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc’ giving their scam further authenticity in the eyes of the masses.
While some create ‘static/dynamic e-commerce sites’ selling ‘renown products’ at unbelievably low-rates, using AD(s) for instance, that boldly says “sponsored by Facebook” in a bid to sell you a non-existent product (stealing your card information at the very least), some stick to propagating scams, that receive ‘cryptocurrency returns’ instead.
With cryptocurrency, scammers can attain more sophistication and longevity with the same ‘scam routine’ at a ‘minimal cost’ (i.e minimal hassle, expense, fears etc) as they deal with a “smaller world” of un-traditional internet-3.0 users, who favor ‘anonymity’ and who as a result, are better ‘bearers of losses’ related to ‘crytocurrencies’. (Crypto-users are very familiar with potential losses in the world of cryptocurrencies.)
Within this cryptocurrency world thus, scammers can manage to scam people repeatedly without garnering much mainstream-noise too. Altogether, they can attain better ‘scam-success-rate’, while abating the inherent hassle (e.g they don’t have to fear ‘failures’ related to ‘charge-backs/suspended-cards, getting traced and caught, extreme guilt etc).
They accomplish these once ‘scam-feats’ with ever-growing sophistication because at a minimal cost, they can create a successful buzz within the ‘smaller world of cryptocurrency’ unannounced (i.e without making much mainstream-media-worthy noise) and keep repeating the same scam, even to the un-notice of the ‘renown individuals’ that they impersonate. In the mix, they can maintain their own anonymity too.
Let’s quickly tackle this ‘fake Elon Musk’ Giveaway-Scam and see how sophisticated it is:
The logic is simple; put on the ‘Elon Musk’s persona’ (e.g his online presence), look out for an upcoming or ongoing ‘Elon Musk related event’ (e.g ‘an upcoming Tesla update’ or ‘an ongoing Elon Musk philanthropic endeavor’), propagate a scam-giveaway (usually crypto-related) targeting ‘crypto-users’ especially.
This is how they go about it:
Starting on Telegram (an privacy-focused chat application), which has many chat-groups hosting millions of crypto-users, they post this image:
Identifying that most chat-groups frown at or block direct spam-like URL(s); they send a picture with an underlying exclamation comment like “Wow” instead as seen below:
Looking at the image above, you will notice that it is likely a screenshot from a static HTML website (hosting a replica of “Elon Musk’s Twitter page”), with apparent tweaks.
This fake “Elon Musk Twitter page” has been edited to input a ‘strategic call-to-action’, in the form of a tweet that elaborately points to ‘a crypto-giveaway event related to Tesla’ and the most relevant edit being the prominent URL: ‘dropelon.com’ (a well-chosen domain-name subtly highlighting the words ‘airdrop & Elon’).
This scam-group likely have agents joined in numerous chat-groups, especially on Telegram, posting a copy of the above image.
Why else do they promote an image instead of a direct link?
Besides ‘an image’ being likelier to pass through into these group-chats, circumventing likely ‘chat-bots’ present on most chat-groups that automatically deletes ‘spam-links’; an image fairs better ‘success-wise’ than ‘a link’ at the outset of this particular scam-plot, for several other reasons…
First off, the ‘use of an image’ may be a direct part of their scam-plot. Sophisticated scammers look to follow a plot-script to the latter, to incite and sustain a certain ‘suspense’ amongst their prey, that keeps the scam-plot ‘realistic, believable, poised and relevant’. Thus, they may favor, ‘sending an image first that contains a subtle call-to-action’ > ‘leading to fake Elon Musk website with a believable call-to-action’ > ‘which eventually leads to the price website containing a domineering call-to-action’.
Secondly, in this particular scam-plot, sending people at the very outset to a ‘URL’ (in this case a fake ‘Elon Musk’s twitter page’) is likely to lead to a ‘failed scam’ as many internet-users are familiar with ‘Twitter’ (e.g its UI and dynamics) and even intuitively, will begin to identify that they aren’t on Elon Musk’s real twitter page.
In concluding to use ‘an image’ at the outset of their plot, it is also very probable, that they have catered to the assumption that most ‘chat-group administrators’, will eventually remove their image from the group. Thus, they want you to see or catch a glimpse of their ‘call-to-action’ right there on the chat-screen, however long that lasts, instead of sending you all the way to an ‘external link’ to see their call-to-action; the call-to-action in this case being ‘dropelon.com’
Typing in ‘dropelon.com’ into your browser and you are met with this page:
Notice that ‘dropelon.com’ leads to a ‘medium.com’ page? Why would they let you go to a fake ‘Elon Musk’ medium page then?
Well, ‘medium.com’ in this case is ‘two things’. For one, it isn’t as popular as ‘twitter.com’ across the internet and secondly, ‘medium.com’ is known especially in the tech-industry as ‘a blogging platform for tech-inclined people’. This is a good mix!
Based on the above parameters thus, it is obtainable that Elon Musk has written his publication on Medium and well, many people aren’t that intuitively familiar with Medium.com (in comparison to Twitter), making it harder for them to spot ‘a scam’.
Very quickly, you forget that that you typed in ‘dropelon.com’ into your browser (not a ‘medium.com link’) and you are suddenly and acceptably, you find yourself in ‘an Elon Musk’s world’, faced with his publication of ‘a giveaway’.
Notice that the page, just spoke of ‘a giveaway’ in a precise and abrupt matter, quickly highlight two clickable call-to-action links namely:
- Click here this official link to get BTC
- Click here this official link to get ETH
Where you decide to gain further establishment about the authenticity of this publication, you are quickly met with “5k positive reactions” (i.e 5326 Claps) as seen on the ‘right side of the medium.com page’ and scrolling to the bottom, you are met with ‘corroborating comments’, each highlighting ‘Elon Musk’s philanthropy’ as seen below:
The entire Medium.com page highlighted above is mostly ‘a static HTML page’ replicating the looking of ‘an Elon Musk’s medium.com page’. (Elon Musk doesn’t even need to have a medium page, for the scammers to be able to create one.)
It is very easy to make and replicate and this is the kind of page used by many of these scams.
Normally, they have many dispensable domain-names too, such that when a domain-name is reported and removed from the web, they quickly enliven another one, hosting the same HTML-website replica that they have made and continue to perpetrate their scam with speed.
Being a static site, you will notice during your navigation of the page, that most of the ‘clickable buttons’ aren’t clickable.
This particular scammers however are quite sophisticated than others in that, they have paid more attention to detail and have made some of the ‘clickable links’ across the page clickable. For instance, having scrolled down to the bottom of the page to read the comments, you will be able to click on the profile of each commenter, to be led to their respective ‘medium.com’ profile (now an external site).
However, like is common with even so-called ‘sophisticated’ scammers, they are never that sophisticated as the screenshot above highlights. (Many of the links and tabs on the page shown above aren’t clickable.)
The main highlight of the medium page altogether, are the two ‘call-to-actions’ links that invites you to a seemingly external site. Those links shown below:
Clicking on those links will lead you to the two sites shown below:
If you have arrived on the two pages above, the ‘call-to-action’ on there now has a domineering undertone, one that appeals to your sense of urgency or to something called ‘FOMO’ (‘fear of missing out’) a term known to crypto-users.
With these static HTML pages, they tell you to send a certain amount of BTC or ETH to their wallet, providing you a brief instruction on how to do so (with emphasis on ‘sending it to the right wallet’) and at the bottom of the page, they display an automated or animated ‘transaction area’ shows recurrent in/out transaction activities from myriads of wallet, further appealing to your ‘sense of urgency’.
While this fake ‘Elon Mask’ cryptocurrency giveaway covered in this publication is all quite sophisticated, you can find another level of sophistication in other such scams that i have covered in another publication here. These scams carry an air of sophistication because they propagate their scam in the persona of renown people with the seeming support of an entire renown enterprise called ‘YouTube’…
In some cases, they automate the growth of YouTube channels, managing to get millions of YouTube subscribers and that revered ‘YouTube verification button’ and are able to carry out livestream-giveaways in the names of renown individuals (and with he appearance of ‘thousands of viewers’), whereupon they lead you to a static HTML websites, that instructs you to part with your money.
Your Boy Terry, whether bulls or bears. @surpassinggoogle
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Originally published at https://www.marlians.com on May 29, 2020.