December 8, 2023

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Bitcoin scammers appear to hack Elon Musk, Bill Gates, others on Twitter

Screenshot by Chuck Reynolds/CNET

A series of tweets posted Wednesday from verified accounts — including Elon Musk’s and Bill Gates’ — appear to be part of a large-scale hack.

“I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19,” the now-deleted tweet from the Musk account reads. “I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!”

Screenshot by Ian Sherr/CNET

Meanwhile, the verified account of billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates tweeted a similar call, since deleted: “I am doubling all payments sent to my BTC address for the next 30 minutes. You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”

In both cases, the tweets end with a link where unsuspecting readers can send Bitcoin. We’ve blacked that bit out in the screenshots above.

It’s a similar situation to scams we’ve seen before, including in 2018, when hackers took control of the verified Twitter accounts of Target and Google’s G-Suite.

And, it seems that Musk and Gates were only two of several high-profile accounts to get hacked.

“ALL MAJOR CRYPTO TWITTER ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN COMPROMISED,” tweeted Cameron Winklevoss, co-founder of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. “We are investigating and hope to have more information shortly.”

“WARNING: @Gemini’s twitter account, along with a number of other crypto twitter accounts, has been hacked,” added Tyler Winklevoss, echoing his twin brother and Gemini co-founder’s concern. “This has resulted in @Gemini, @coinbase, @binance, and @CoinDesk, tweeting about a scam partnership with CryptoForHealth. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK! These tweets are SCAMS.”

A cursory check of the BTC address from the since-deleted tweets shows a total received of 5.77900620 BTC — roughly $53,195.

This is a developing story. Tesla and the Gates Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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