Have you noticed a deluge of advertisements on Twitter lately touting scam cryptocurrencies that use Elon Musk’s face? You’re not alone. Last week I wrote about the fraudulent use of Musk’s companies by paying them to promote garbage cryptocurrency. The problem seems to be getting worse.
“Neura makes public their Blockchain Project,” an ad I spotted on Sunday reads.
If you click on the ad it takes you to a page that says promises, “Breaking news for all crypto investors around the world!”
The page insists that a “pre-sale” is underway for a Neuralink-branded cryptocurrency, something that’s simply not true. Well, the token sale is real—in the sense that scammers are trying to get your money.
“The visionary CEO of Tesla and Neuralink, Elon Musk, has just announced the launch of the official Neuralink Token, and the Pre-Sale is now open for a limited time only,” the scam page reads.
Elon Musk actually has not launched his own cryptocurrency. And he’s never endorsed a coin tied to Tesla, Neuralink, or SpaceX, or any of his other companies. If you buy the coin, which is billed as going for $2.50 each, you’re simply handing your money to scammers.
Twitter was used to quickly respond to journalist inquiries prior to Musk’s takeover, however, it still hasn’t responded to me. And it’s still unclear whether Twitter is fully aware that scammers are using the platform to sell scam crypto. But whether they’re aware or not, the company is clearly making money by taking ad dollars from scammers.
Users eventually land at the website after clicking through Sunday’s ad. It looks exactly like Neuralink. And it’s this shell game that probably allows the scammers to get their ads approved. Presumably, the content being linked to looks innocuous enough when it’s reviewed by Twitter’s processes—assuming they still have some kind of ad review processes—and then the content at those links is switched out once the ad is live.
The ad I saw on Sunday wasn’t the only crypto scam in recent days. Another SpaceX-themed currency was advertised via Twitter, and it was sold with the same tactics. This ad featured Musk, with the SpaceX logo behind him, and looked as if it came from CoinTelegraph. CoinTelegraph is a news source that covers cryptocurrency.
The scammers claim that anyone who purchases enough can win investment advice via WhatsApp from Musk, a trip on Mars or a free Neuralink brain implant. There is one thing that appears to have changed between this site and last week’s: the Musk-deepfake video seems gone.
Given recent news that the FDA has rejected Neuralink’s application for human trials, you’d think the scammers would want to update that promise. But maybe the scam artists are banking on the fact that whoever would fall for this kind of scam isn’t keeping the best tabs on the news. After all, they’re promising a new cryptocurrency that Musk has never promoted on his official Twitter account.
This post was updated by me if I get back from Twitter on Sunday. But I’m not going to hold my breath.