Tesla Twitter Scam: Elon Musk Will Not Trade Bitcoin for a Car

On Monday morning, a Twitter account claiming to belong to Tesla PR manager Dan Bender tweeted about a company “promo” giving away Bitcoin and Etherium. Clicking on the link in the tweet led to a fake version of the site for the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, with a message claiming to be from from Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “We have recently begun accepting cryptocurrency for select users (not many, but demand was huge!) and are now rolling it out worldwide,” the post said. For just two Bitcoin or 100 Etherium, the site claimed customers would get a “fully customized Tesla 3 model.”

Some questioned the tweet’s legitimacy, with YouTuber Daniel “Keemstar” Keem wondering if the message was legitimate. This appears to be a scam to steal cryptocurrencies. The only tweets on the account tag all of its 1,000-plus followers across hundreds of tweets. It’s unclear why the account was verified. The tweet currently had its comments suspended, but it is still viewable on the social media platform.

A bit of basic internet detective work revealed that this account doesn’t seem to have anything to do with official Tesla channels. The email account linked in the Twitter profile goes to a Tesla Motors Club member who has been part of the community since October 2013. Owners of Tesla cars can sign up for accounts, and it looks like Bender was an early adopter. If you take the image on the Dan Bender Twitter page and reverse search it using TinEye, you can see the image of an author on the Statesman Journal website, a community news site for Salem, Oregon, with the name “bender. Jpg.”

On the website linked, the “giveaway” uses the URL “spacex.gives.” Spacex.com is the only legitimate URL for the company. Elon Musk might like anime and sending his car into space, but he isn’t going to put his name on a sketchy scam website.  

The Dan Bender account has spent the last seven hours tagging thousands of Twitter users in posts, seemingly with the goal of pulling them into the scam. Tesla has never announced it would accept cryptocurrencies, and it’s very unlikely that a hacked Twitter account would be the best forum for the company to make such an announcement. With the value of cryptocurrencies sharply declining in recent weeks, it may be an attempt to take advantage of unlucky or desperate investors looking to offset their losses..

Newsweek has reached out to Tesla and will update this story with its comment.

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