Scammers posing as billionaire Elon Musk on social media stole more than $ 2 million in cryptocurrencies from October last year to the end of March. This is stated in the report published on Monday by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
These are attackers who create accounts that are almost indistinguishable from the real Musk page. And offer users of Twitter and other platforms to transfer tokens to their crypto wallets, promising large rewards. They often use the same profile photo as Musk and change the account name slightly to build the victim’s trust.
Such actions violate the rules of Twitter, and the management of the social network has repeatedly promised to block fake pages. But scammers have been posing as Elon Musk for quite some time in order to lure cryptocurrency from users of social networks. And the fraudulent scheme is still actively used on the platform.
Also, people lured by stories about easy money on cryptocurrency. For this colorful sites are created with beautiful promises, charts showing constant growth. After registering for such a user sends money, even supposedly receives dividends. However, to receive them, you need to pay “a little more on top”.
In total, from October last year to the end of March 2021, almost 7,000 people became victims of various fraudulent schemes with cryptocurrencies. Who lost more than $ 80 million, the FTC calculated. For comparison: in the same period a year earlier, users filed only 570 allegations of crypto scams. The amount of damage caused to them amounted to $ 7.5 million. So, the amount increased 10 times compared to last year. On average, losses are around $ 1,900 per person.
Hacking accounts belonging to Elon Musk and other celebrities
Last year, attackers hacked accounts belonging to Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates and other celebrities. The scammers received almost $ 120,000 in a short time.
The hype plays into the hands of scammers
The sharp rise in the Bitcoin rate attracted new investors to the market. However, hype and hype plays into the hands of scammers. Among the most famous cases of fraud, experts identified:
– fake investment websites;
– distribution of free cryptocurrencies on behalf of celebrities;
– online dating.
The researchers found that since October 2020, people between the ages of 20 and 49 are five times more likely to report losses from crypto investment fraud than older people. Notably, a group of people in their 20s and 30s reported that they lost much more money from cryptocurrency scam than from any other type of scam.
At the same time, people aged 50 and over were much less likely to report losses as a result of digital money fraud. However, when this group did lose money, the average reported loss was several times higher and amounted to ~ $ 3250.
The regulator also found out that scammers often impersonate the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange. However, what exactly are the fraudulent schemes around the crypto exchange remains unknown.