Suspected bitcoin scammers appeared to launch a wide-ranging attack on major Twitter accounts on Wednesday in an attempt to get people to transfer cryptocurrency, taking over accounts belonging to corporations such as Apple and Uber and famous people including Bill Gates and Elon Musk.
A tweet sent from the account of Gates, the software mogul and the world’s second-wealthiest person, promised to double all payments sent to his bitcoin address for the next 30 minutes.
“Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time,” the tweet said. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
The bitcoin address linked in the tweets posted to Gates’s and Musk’s account was quickly inundated with more than 200 instances of people sending it money, totalling more than $50,000.
People on Twitter called out the Gates tweet, and others like it from other accounts, as obvious scams. Similar tweets appeared on Musk’s account and on an account associated with Cash, an app for transferring money. The tweets were deleted after several minutes.
Twitter spokeswoman Aly Pavela said the company was looking into the issue and would have more to say later.
Some of the accounts have huge followings. Gates has 51.1 million Twitter followers, while tech executive Musk has 36.9 million. Apple’s has 4.5 million.
Cryptocurrency investors and brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss said from their Twitter accounts that they believed all major Twitter accounts in the industry had been compromised and were tweeting about a fake partnership.