Elon Musk impersonators stole over $2M in crypto scams: feds

Impersonators of Tesla CEO Elon Musk have stolen no less than $2 million in cryptocurrency scams over the previous six months, in keeping with federal regulators.

The thefts are a part of so-called giveaway scams in which grifters pose as celebrities or well-known figures in the crypto world and promise large returns on investments suckered out of victims, the feds stated. But as an alternative, the scammers pocket the untraceable cryptocurrencies.

The information on Musk impersonators comes from a broader analysis performed by the Federal Trade Commission, which says crypto scams have surged since October, hitting their highest stage on file in the primary quarter of 2021.

The FTC’s report, which was printed Monday, discovered that just about 7,000 folks have reported shedding over $80 million in complete to cryptocurrency scams since October. The true figures could possibly be even larger for the reason that information solely displays reported scams. 

The typical sufferer reported a lack of $1,900, the FTC stated, and younger buyers, or these ages 20 to 49, had been over 5 instances extra prone to report falling for cryptocurrency scams than older buyers.

The timing of the spike in scams traces up with the surge in costs of among the greatest cryptocurrencies. At the start of October, for instance, bitcoin was buying and selling at about $10,900 per coin, in keeping with information from coinmarketcap.com. The value of the crypto ran as much as larger than $64,600 in April and was buying and selling at over $45,000 as of Tuesday morning.

In addition to Elon Musk, cryptocurrency scammers have impersonated Barack Obama and President Joe Biden.
In addition to Elon Musk, cryptocurrency scammers have impersonated Barack Obama and President Joe Biden.
Alamy Stock Photo

“All of this plays right into the hands of scammers,” the FTC stated. “They blend into the scene with claims that can seem plausible because cryptocurrency is unknown territory for many people.”

It’s not the primary time Musk’s identification has been utilized by crypto scammers. In 2020, hackers targeted about 130 Twitter accounts, together with that of Musk and different notable enterprise and political leaders, to push a bitcoin rip-off.

That rip-off, which included the hacking of President Joe Biden’s and former President Barack Obama’s Twitter accounts, suckered in over 400 funds and $121,000 value of bitcoin, which might now be value considerably extra for the reason that value of the coin has surged. 

The Federal Trade Commission reported that people have lost $80 million to cryptocurrency scams since October.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that individuals have misplaced $80 million to cryptocurrency scams since October.

In that case, the hackers posted messages from the affected accounts that learn, “I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled!”

The FTC stated Monday that different types of scams have emerged, as effectively.

The regulators stated some scams are constructed on referral chains of buyers, much like a basic pyramid scheme.

Other web sites, the FTC stated, seem as an funding car and even show customers’ crypto investments rising over time. But when buyers attempt to withdraw their cash, “they are told to send even more crypto – and end up getting nothing back,” the FTC stated.

Other scammers have turned to on-line courting to lure in victims, the FTC stated.

“Many people have reported believing they were in a long-distance relationship when their new love started chatting about a hot cryptocurrency opportunity, which they then acted on,” the feds stated in their report.

And nonetheless others have impersonated authorities authorities or publicly traded corporations to persuade victims to ship in cryptocurrencies, the company stated.

All in all, 14 p.c of complete reported losses to imposters are actually in cryptocurrency, the FTC stated.

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