Scammers posing as Elon Musk made off with $2M: U.S watchdog report

  • FTC says Investors have lost more than $2 million to scammers disguising as Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
  • People report more than 7,000 scams involving about $80 million between October and March.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revealed that crypto scammers impersonating Tesla CEO Elon Musk have swindled over $80 million from Americans. According to FTC, the crypto scam occurred within six months, the 1st of October last year and the 31st of May, 2021. 

FTC revealed the details of the scam in a report titled “Consumer Protection Data Spotlight.” The Commission said that scammers are deceiving crypto holders into fraudulent investments, resulting in a spike in reported losses between October and March. During the period, FTC noted nearly 7,000 reports of scams which led to losing over $80 million. 

The reported median loss was $1,900. Also, the recent loss is a surge of about 1,000 percent, compared to the same period a year before. 

Scammers invade the crypto space

It’s no news that the crypto space is getting more attention by the day. The recent bull run across the crypto market fueled different reactions on various social media platforms and triggered crypto interest in new investors. However, scammers used the opportunity to trick new investors who are unfamiliar with how cryptocurrency works.

FTC noted these crypto scammers presented fake websites to investors, convincing them that there are great opportunities for investment and mining cryptocurrencies. Some of these phony investment schemes are designed as tiers and based on referrals. These urge the investors to invite more people and they all fall victims to the scam. 

FTC added that these crypto scammers go further to update fake testimonials and crypto terms to appear credible. Unfortunately, when investors move to withdraw their profits, they are required to send more crypto. 

Elon Musk imposters scam crypto investors

Furthermore, the Commission mentioned impersonators who presented themselves as Elon Musk. FTC noted that over $2 million was sent in crypto to scammers disguising as the Tesla CEO. These imposters come under the guise of celebrities or other notable names in the crypto community. They scam people by organizing giveaways. They request cryptocurrency from people, promising to multiply the crypto sent. 

The FTC report came after Elon Musk announced that Tesla had terminated accepting Bitcoin payments in exchange for its electric vehicles. Bitcoin’s value fell 12 percent in reaction to the news. Since then, Bitcoin has been recording losses to trade as low as $42,000. Additionally, BTC has shed more than 20% in its 24-hour trading volume. 

At press time,  BTC is gradually rebounding from recent losses. The king of crypto is currently trading at $45,382 after gaining more than 1 percent in the last 24 hours. 

In addition, FTC highlighted people between ages 20 and 29 as the most victims of fake crypto investments. Specifically, people between the age of 20 and 30 said they lost more money to crypto scammers than any other type of fraud. 

In the report, FTC warned:

To be clear, while investment scams top the list as the most lucrative way to obtain cryptocurrency, scammers will use whatever story works to get people to send crypto. That often involves impersonating a government authority or a well-known businessman.

 

 

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Bio: Ibukun Ogundare is a crypto writer and researcher who uses non-complex words to educate her audience. Ibukun is excited about writing and always looks forward to bringing more information to the world.

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