The realism, scale and sophistication of scammers around the world using tech industry celebrities such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk continues to increase. This is especially visible around the case of Musk iit’s extended past the twitter “Crypto Giveaways” using images and fake accounts. It has gone so far to having live stream videos with Musk speaking as a part of entities like the “Tesla Foundation” as the Youtube screenshots below show. The repercussions have exploded recently with Ripple suing Youtube for not limiting these scams related to XRP and their CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The problem is, not only are platforms such as YouTube not very effective at limiting them while unfairly punishing many legitimate crypto related channels and content, but users aren’t aware of public facing systems for them to quickly report and potentially create a positive end effect against these scams.
As a part of their long term goal to “democratize” AML solutions for the cryptocurrency economy, a leader in analytics and AML for blockchain, Coinfirm, has been chipping away at this for a while with initiatives such as their AMLT Network and Reclaim Crypto. Tied to their Coinfirm AML & Analytics Platform used by market leaders such as Binance, the AMLT Network allows anyone in the world to submit crypto address related data that if deemed legitimate after analysis it is then implemented within their AML Platform used by crypto companies and exchanges around the world. This allows these exchanges and companies to act accordingly when these related funds enter their platforms. One of these cases was recently reported into the Network and after proper flagging of related addresses and further analysis some of these funds are ending up on major exchanges, in this case of the “Tesla Foundation” it was Bitfinex.
In the “Tesla Foundation” case, Coinfirm identified two addresses that the scammer(s) have used for the scam in April. After drawing people to a Youtube live stream the scammers state that if someone sends a specified amount of cryptocurrency, eg. 0.1 BTC, that they will receive 1 BTC from Musk – of course, the funds are never sent and they keep what is sent to them.
The two video’s we covered from the Tesla Foundation Youtube channel belong to one person or group because of the relation between the addresses provided in each video are visible in our visual analysis below. Some of the funds submitted by victims to these two addresses 3Fo1739F7QstqBT9AyoaK2AgdRKcyvwzoK and 14ue3MtcE3vpft1VnejWLsEWCmGPb6x7UC, were then accumulated on another address 3GadE3GbqkqhGQg5poSq6yuzgJjjB8ywRP and then sent to Bitfinex
Coinfirm found that the scammer addresses, 3Fo1739F7QstqBT9AyoaK2AgdRKcyvwzoK and 14ue3MtcE3vpft1VnejWLsEWCmGPb6x7UC, received payments from victims on April 11 and on April 21. As the analysis by Coinfirm shows, the scammer has also received funds from Bitso, most likely a victim sending the scammer their funds directly from the victims Bitso account.
Red – scammer addresses
Yellow – likely victims addresses
Green – Scammer addresses still holding BTC
Evidence for scammer address: 3Fo1739F7QstqBT9AyoaK2AgdRKcyvwzoK
We’ve also generated AML Risk Reports from the Coinfirm AML & Analytics Platform showing the addresses now being flagged so that Coinfirm users can see the risk of the funds they’re accepting.
Evidence for scammer address: 14ue3MtcE3vpft1VnejWLsEWCmGPb6x7UC
As of monday morning not only was the “Tesla Foundation” account still up on Youtube but another related live stream of similar characteristics was ongoing. This one was on a channel named Tesla CEO with approximately 6k people watching live at the time of writing.
Many of these scams are tied to the website elondrop.live, how and why these accounts and sites have not been addressed is a question to be answered.