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Elon Musk Impersonators Have Made More Than £1 Million In Past Six Months

by : Hannah Smith on : 18 May 2021 15:47
Elon Musk Impersonators Have Made Over £1 Million In Last Six MonthsPA Images/Elon Musk/Twitter

Being Elon Musk is a pretty lucrative business, and that goes for fake Elon Musks, too.

Impersonators of the world’s richest man have made more than £1 million in the past six months through crypto-scams claiming to be from the Tesla boss himself, US officials have revealed.

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In a new report, the Federal Trade Commission has said that online scams run by fraudsters pretending to be Elon Musk are among a booming investment scam industry that has claimed more than 7,000 victims since October last year.

Elon Musk imposters target social media users in investment scams (PA Images)Hannah Smith

The scams, which typically involve fake social media accounts or posts on messaging boards containing apparent investment tips from Musk himself, have reportedly netted more than £1.4 million ($2 million) in stolen money from unsuspecting victims.

According to the FTC report, the Musk impersonators are part of a growing trend of scammers who push fake crypto schemes and other cons by pretending to be celebrities. Losses to this type of scam are up a massive 1000% in the past year, with victims scammed out of an estimated total of £56.6 million ($80 million) in the past six months. Roughly half of the losses from these scams were in cryptocurrency.

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The BBC reports that scammers lure people to fake investment websites promising guaranteed returns by creating social media profiles that mirror the real deal, often posting links in the replies of tweets by the very person they’re claiming to be.

Politicians and celebrities hacked in Twitter scam (@JoeBiden/ Twitter)@JoeBiden/ Twitter

Other scams involve posting links to supposed ‘giveaways’, which gained notoriety last year after the Twitter accounts of high-profile figures including Musk, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Kanye West were hacked and shared tweets promising to send users Bitcoin.

Attackers stole more than $120,000 in the scam, which eventually forced Twitter to temporarily lock the accounts of all its verified users, per The Verge.

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The FTC says that users should be wary of any promise of free money, writing that ‘promises of guaranteed huge returns or claims that your cryptocurrency will be multiplied are always scams’.

And while a lot of people tend to associate these kind of online fraud schemes with targeting older and less tech-savvy people, it turns out that its actually Millennials and Gen-Z who are being fooled the most.

The FTC has warned the consumers aged between 20-49 are five times more likely to fall victims to investment scams than older age groups, with fraudsters finding ways to cash in on the social media Bitcoin hype.

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Topics: Technology, cryptocurrency, Cybersecurity, Elon Musk, Now, Scammers

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BBC
  1. BBC

    Elon Musk impersonators earn millions from crypto-scams