Have you been added to a random Twitter list named “Deal of the Year” or similar? Is there an image at the top of the list showing Elon Musk’s tweet stating that he has randomly chosen some new followers and is giving them an opportunity to participate in the biggest giveaway? This is a fake tweet that forms the basis of a scam.
How does this scam work? What should you do when someone randomly adds you to a Twitter list? If you fall victim to this scam, what should you do?
What Is the Elon Musk “Freedom Giveaway” Crypto Scam?
The “Freedom Giveaway” is a crypto scam that targets Twitter users. In this scam, cybercriminals add Twitter accounts to a random Twitter list. Most of these accounts could be those who have recently followed Elon Musk or his companies on Twitter, but there may be others who have not.
At the top of the Twitter list, scammers add a fake image of a tweet, supposedly by Elon Musk, where he appears to be announcing the “biggest” crypto giveaway. At the end of the fake tweet, scammers direct users to visit a phony giveaway website set up by scammers.
Since Elon Musk advocates freedom of speech, scammers have picked a clever domain name that includes the term “freedom”. Furthermore, the Twitter account that adds these users to the list uses an official Twitter logo. On the whole, cybercriminals do an excellent job of making everything look authentic.
Overview of the Freedom Giveaway Website
When potential victims visit the fake website, a popup asks them to confirm they are over 18. Once they confirm this and click “Continue”, they are greeted with a clean-looking landing page featuring Elon Musk’s picture. Then, the next screen asks the would-be victims to answer a few easy questions about Musk or any of his companies.
After answering a few questions (whether right or wrong), another screen appears containing an address bar where prospective victims are directed to enter their BTC wallet address.
That’s the address to which scammers claim the giveaway prize will be sent. Upon entering their wallet address, victims reach the final screen.
On this screen, victims see a wallet address (likely owned by the fraudsters) and a message stating anyone sending crypto to this address will immediately get multiple returns on their investment. This means that if someone sends one BTC, they will get five times, 10 times, or even higher multiples in return.
The fake giveaway website states that the giveaway will end after 5,000 people participate. To speed things up, scammers also add a fake counter on this page, seemingly showing how many people have already participated. The scammers keep the counter close to 5,000 to make their victims feel like they will miss out on the opportunity if they do not act promptly.
Lastly, some fake comments at the end of the giveaway page praise Musk for running such a great giveaway. These are entirely bogus.
Google now marks the website, freedomgiveaway(dot)com, used by scammers to propagate the “Freedom Giveaway” scam as unsafe. Due to that, scammers have abandoned the primary domain and started spreading the same scam using other domains.
Therefore, you may encounter a similar landing page on a domain that does not include the word “freedom.”
So how do scammers make money from this?
How Do Scammers Profit From This Scam?
Scammers can profit from this scam in several ways:
- When innocent users believe in the giveaway and send their crypto to a scammer’s wallet, they don’t return it. That’s one way that fraudsters profit from this scam.
- Scammers have added a QR code on the giveaway page. Those who scan it accidentally could have their crypto wallet, phone, or other device they are using hacked.
- As victims share their wallet address to enter the giveaway, potentially containing crypto, scammers can also try to hack it and steal their funds.
The list goes on and on…
What Should You Do When You Get Targeted by This Scam?
If you have been added to a Twitter list but haven’t visited the website scammers are directing you to, all you have to do is remove yourself from that list and report the scammer’s account that added you.
To remove your account from that Twitter list, you will have to block its creator. Removing yourself from Twitter lists is easy. So, find the list where you’ve been added and block the creator.
Following that, you should report the Twitter account that added you to the list if it’s not the one you have already blocked. The process of reporting a Twitter account is also straightforward and helps fight cybercrime.
But what should you do if it’s already too late, and you’ve already lost money through the “Freedom Giveaway” scam?
What Should You Do if You’ve Fallen Victim to the “Freedom Giveaway” Scam?
If you’ve only landed on the scammers’ website or filled out the quiz but have not disclosed your wallet address, you should be safe. Just close the website and don’t visit it again. You could also get your security suite to scan for any potential malware that automatically downloaded, although we’ve not heard of this happening via this specific scam just yet.
However, if you’ve entered your wallet address on the website, scammers might have got hold of it. Transfer your funds from one wallet to another. This way, if scammers try to hack your wallet using the address you shared, they won’t get anything (as long as you act fast).
If you have made a mistake and sent crypto to the scammer, there’s little you can do. Crypto transactions are irreversible, so you cannot get them back. Rather than panicking any further, transfer the remaining funds from the wallet you have used to make the transaction.
If you have scanned the QR code on the website, disconnect your device from the internet immediately. This will stop scammers from continuing to use your device if they have smartly gained access to it.
After that, perform a malware scan on your device to ensure it’s not infected. You should also reset the network settings on Windows or on your Mac and scan your browser. Then, check the installed apps and remove any suspicious apps you find that you don’t remember installing.
Watch Out for the “Freedom Giveaway” Scam
“Freedom Giveaway” is a clever crypto scam that scammers use to scam people on Twitter. While the fraud primarily targets Twitter users, you should remain vigilant when using any other social media platform, as scammers may also use it there.
And spread the word about this scam so other Twitter users don’t fall victim to it.