A bitcoin user lost $1.14 million to online thieves posing as MicroStrategy chief executive officer Michael Saylor. The user sent the equivalent of 26.4 bitcoins (BTC) to an address confirmed by crypto tracking service Whale Alert as a bitcoin scam. A “nightmare come true,” Whale Alert tweeted, “this scam received the single largest payment ever to a fake giveaway.”
“We suspect this payment was made through a Coinbase address.”
“We suspect this payment was made through a Coinbase address,” Whale Alert added, famous for tracking large-scale bitcoin transactions. It said the theft occurred via this website and on YouTube, both “confirmed” scam platforms used by con-artists to impersonate Saylor.
The YouTube channel has since been taken down, and a visit to the website returns an error message. According to a record of the payments, the 26.4 BTC was sent to the primary scam address in five transactions. The loot is worth $1.14 million at current market prices.
At least 489 such scams were launched on YouTube last week.
Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, has been a big supporter of bitcoin. Since August 2020, his company bought 124,391 BTC — the largest holding of any publicly-traded entity. The holdings are currently valued at $5.39 billion. Responding to the Whale Alert announcement, Saylor said, “At least 489 of these scams were launched on YouTube last week. We report them every 15 minutes, and they are taken down after a few hours, but the scammers just launch more.” This is the latest fake giveaway involving Saylor. In November, someone sent nearly 3 BTC ($179,000) to a different giveaway impersonating the MicroStrategy head.