Scammers Impersonate John McAfee and Elon Musk to Promote Fake Crypto Giveaway

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Popular figures and celebrities are no strangers to the increasing wave of buy cryptocurrency scam looking to make a quick buck using their image to con innocent people. Well, antivirus pioneer John McAfee can now be added to that “illustrious” list.

Earlier in the month, several reports confirmed that an impersonator has been attempting to dupe crypto investors on popular publishing platform Medium. The scammer’s modus operandi? Impersonating McAfee and presenting a cryptocurrency giveaway.

According to the Medium post of the scammer, the scheme, dubbed the “McAfee Crypto Extravaganza,” will provide investors with as much as ten times in returns on investments.

However, there’s a catch 22. Investors need to deposit to qualify for the giveaway. The deposits can be made in Bitcoin or Ethereum to the scammer’s wallet address.

The scammer is asking for between 0.5 to 5 BTC or ETH (whichever option you’d like) to verify the identity of an investor, claiming that participants will be able to get up to 5,000 BTC or 10,000 ETH in their cryptocurrency exchange or wallet addresses. Good times, right?

Points to the scammer for effort, however; there are two phishing sites (well designed, I must add) for the scam; one pretends to be from McAfee, and the other claims to be from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The scam pages will show a pool of crypto assets along with an indicator of how much cryptocurrency is remaining to be won. There is also a live streaming list of transactions being purportedly sent to and from the attacker’s crypto address.

The indicators are generally to provide an additional aura of legitimacy. They make it look like many people are participating in the giveaway, doling out their hard-earned crypto assets in the hopes of being 10 times richer before long. They also act as a way of stirring the Fear of Missing out (or FOMO, as the kids call it these days), goading people to take part in the scheme before the cryptocurrencies left are exhausted.

Given how popular McAfee and Musk are, as well as how open they are about their love for cryptocurrencies, you can understand why the scammers chose to use these men as the public figures to use in promoting this scam. If only they had been a little more intuitive and used someone like Mark Zuckerberg.

Janice McAfee, ’John’s wife, exposed the scam on Twitter, distancing her husband from the scheme. McAfee himself further confirmed that this scheme is a scam, saying that, “No one gives things for free, people. Not even me.”

So far, Mr. Musk hasn’t addressed the scam yet. At press time, the post has already been taken down by Medium’s administration. Boy, do they know how to spoil the fun.

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About Jimmy Aki

Jimmy has been following the development of blockchain for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.