Scammers are using fake Facebook accounts to trick users out of Bitcoin

Scammers are targeting companies on Facebook, attempt to con followers into sending Bitcoin payments. Targets have included cryptocurrency mining company Bitmain and tech publication The Verge, which reported the scam to warn its readers.

The crooks post comments on the targeted business's Facebook page, claiming that it has established a partnership with Bitcoin and is giving away a hefty sum of free cryptocurrency.

The posts are a type of advance fee scam (like the infamous Nigerian Prince email hoax), and requests that readers send a fee in Bitcoin to "verify their address". The posts claim the money will be refunded immediately with interest – but of course that never happens.

“There are plenty of users creating fake accounts with our profile picture and inputting the same name as Bitmain,” the company wrote in a Facebook comment. “We always have these taken down but new ones always come out.”

Coining it

A similar scam took hold of Twitter in November, with fraudsters impersonating Tesla CEO Elon Musk to trick fans into opening their Bitcoin wallets. Rather than creating new accounts for the job, which would have limited reach, the criminals hijacked the accounts of brands like Matalan and Pantheon Books, then changed their profile pictures and account names to match Musk's before sharing details of the scam.

The idea was that Twitter users following both Musk and the targeted brand would assume they were seeing a legitimate post from the millionaire – and hundreds did, giving the crooks 0.1 Bitcoin (around $380/£300/AU$530) each for the chance to 'enter' a giveaway.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)