Whenever we come across a crypto giveaway scheme, alarm bells would always go off. Today, we discovered two 5,000 BTC giveaway scams on YouTube, using the names of two prominent individuals.
The tactics get more sophisticated by the year, and this time, it appears the scammers have made it convincingly so.
N.B. All QR codes below have been intentionally blurred out to prevent accidental scanning of addresses and bitcoin sending.
The Supposed Live Interviews
The scam was pulled off using the names of Steve Wozniak and Robert Kiyosaki on what seemed like a live interview with these two individuals.
It is important to note that these giveaway scams have absolutely nothing to do with the Steve Wozniak or Robert Kiyosaki. Scammers in the crypto space have always loved using the names of famous individuals as it is a proven and effective tactic in duping the public.
In the videos, information on the screen stated that to participate, viewers are to send an amount between 0.1 BTC to 10 BTC to a given bitcoin address, and in return, double the amount of bitcoin would be sent back immediately to the sender’s address. To make it even more convincing, the addresses with scannable QR codes using Wozniak’s and Kiyosaki’s names were:
It appears the scammers have created custom bitcoin wallet addresses above using the custom bitcoin vanity address method.
The Supporting Websites
The scammers have also created separate websites at stevebtc.com and robertbtc.com. These domain names were shown in the YouTube video to lure victims to another level of the con. It is quite possible that by the time you read this, both sites could have been taken down. A screenshot of each of these sites are given below:
Although Wozniak and Kiyosaki are not big investors in the crypto space, they do have vast amounts of wealth that would make a giveaway like this appear to be possible. However, our impression from listening to interviews with Kiyosaki over the last 2 years is, if given the opportunity, he’s more likely to want to HODL 5,000 BTC than to give them away. And we are quite certain Wozniak would do the same.
If the YouTube videos didn’t get victims to act fast enough, visiting the website probably did. Both of the websites above have the same format. An animated decreasing bar of available BTC for giveaway put pressure on victims to take fast action, as fake transactions of BTC being sent and received were added to a list below it in real-time.
Anyway, the Apple logo at the top of the website at stevebtc.com is already a large giveaway (no pun intended) sign that the whole thing is bogus.
Here’s another logic. Steve Wozniak is worth about $100 million at the moment. 5,000 BTC at the current price is approximately $50 million. Assuming this were real, it would be hard to believe Wozniak would part with half his net worth to benefit strangers for the purpose of promoting bitcoin, blockchain technologies or any reason whatsoever.
How Much Was Stolen?
The blockchain makes bitcoin transactions accessible by anyone 24/7, and with the wallet addresses given, anyone could check how much has been transferred to those addresses.
The updated transactions and amount received may be viewed at:
By the time you read this, it is possible that the bitcoins in the addresses above could have been transferred elsewhere and the wallets emptied. At time of writing, these addresses displayed the following:
From the addresses and information shown on the block explorer at blockchain.com above, it is evident that only bitcoins were being sent to the address, and nothing was sent back in return. Both addresses showed amount of bitcoin in Total Received, and nothing in Total Sent. Although bitcoins could be sent back from different wallet addresses, we highly doubt it. (see update at the bottom)
BTC Giveaway Scams are not new. Like the ever-popular ETH Giveaway Scams, they have been around for a few years. Previously we have seen such scams using the names of figures like Bill Gates, and of the exchanges Coinbase and Binance.
With the value of bitcoin soaring recently, it is not likely that any individual, corporation or exchange is going to give bitcoin away freely in any manner. The old adage “if it’s too good to be true” holds true in this situation.
Also, anyone who knows Robert Kiyosaki well enough would know he is not someone who would encourage this sort of freebie. At the current BTC price of about $10,000, 5,000 BTC is equivalent to about $50 million. With the financial crisis looming ahead, no person in his right mind, rich or otherwise, would give out a free lunch like this. An amount of this magnitude would probably be used for more charitable means than simply be given to strangers.
At a time when bitcoin is becoming a precious commodity and safe-haven asset against inflation and a financial crisis, scammers will be out in droves to deceive victims into handing over their bitcoin willingly. Always keep your bitcoin safe, and never hand it over to another party for safekeeping, to trade on your behalf, or for any giveaway reward. There is usually no recourse for bitcoin lost in such cases.
With bitcoin, you are your own bank.
Remember, if it’s not your keys, it’s not your coin.
After the Youtube video has been taken down, a quick check on the block explorer reveals that the scammers had managed to con victims of a total of 10+ BTC over 17 transactions in the span of 10 hours of this 5000 BTC giveaway scam.
We have also reached out to Kiyosaki to inform him about this.