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Bitcoin scam: Internet users duped by scammers with fake Elon Musk-linked Starlink website

Bitcoin scam: Fraudsters used the names of a celebrity, Tesla chief Elon Musk, his company, Starlink, as well as his preference for cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, to create a fake website to steal money from people.

By: HT TECH
Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 18:49 IST
Bitcoin scam: Cybercriminals fooled people by linking both Bitcoin and Elon Musk's Starlink to start their fraudulent scheme. (Starlinkiran[.]com)

Bitcoin scam: Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk is a proponent of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. However, his comments have many times been contradictory and this has caused these cryptocurrencies' prices to yo-yo in a dizzying manner. Nevertheless, he has indicated his preference for crypto in no uncertain manner. Considering he is a celebrity, almost everybody in the world knew about this. Most everybody is also familiar with his SpaceX-Starlink venture. Celebrities have a habit of attracting fraudsters and now, they have used Bitcoin and Musk's company SpaceX’s Starlink satellite system to start a fake website and thereby defraud innocent internet users in Iran.

A fake website that looks almost like the original Starlink website went online with the domain name Starlinkiran[.]com. This fraudulent website looks and feels like the original with the exception of a few things, including that the writing is in Persian. The fraudulent website is targeting Iranians looking for stronger and better internet services claiming that users can place an order on the beta version of the service.

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Bitcoin payment

If the language wasn’t a red flag big enough for these users, then there were several other features that should have made the red flags pop up. Firstly, the website asks users to pay for their purchases in Bitcoin. Then, they must fill a form with their names, email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses following which the site will send a separate email on how to make the payment. This approach is different from the official Starlink website that lets users use a credit card to pay for their purchases, PCMag notes.

Luring with discounts

Another big clue is the pricing. The fake Starlink website is charging $39 a month for the internet connectivity and $249 for the required hardware. The original Elon Musk-linked Starlink website charges $99 per month for the internet and $499 one-time fee.

Iran connection

Wait, there’s more! While Musk aims to provide internet connectivity even in the remotest locations in the world, Starlink as of now has five region options for its users, which includes the US, Canada, France, Austria and Germany. Simply put, Iran is not on the list!

Do the homework

All of these things, put together, indicate that internet users should be more careful whenever they are buying, or selling, anything on the Internet. Just because something looks like it is linked to a celebrity does not mean it is authentic. There are a huge number of fake websites on the Net and users should look a little closer and deeper and then try to identify whether it is original or not before spending their money.

All, these duped people had to do was visit Starlink’s official website and save themselves from a lot of trouble.

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First Published Date: 09 Jul, 19:48 IST

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