One of the biggest names in crypto is also one of the most used by cybercriminals. The FTC is here with its new report that shows cryptocurrency scams have skyrocketed and continue to rise.
People have reported sending more than $2 million in crypto to Elon Musk impersonators within the past six months. Scammers are cashing in on the buzz around cryptocurrency, and are luring people into bogus investment opportunities in record numbers.
The US Federal Trade Commission published its “Consumer Protection Data Spotlight” report Monday.
Since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losing more than $80 million on these scams, with the reported median loss coming in at $1,900. Compared to the same period a year earlier, this is about twelve times the number of reports, and nearly 1,000% more in reported losses.
FTC analyst Emma Fletcher warns about the how scammers blend into the scene with claims that can seem plausible because cryptocurrency is unknown territory for most people. Some of these schemes are even based on referral chains where existing members are paid fees to recruit new investors.
Many people have reported being lured to websites that look like opportunities for investing in or mining cryptocurrencies, but are bogus.
“Sites use fake testimonials and cryptocurrency jargon to appear credible, but promises of enormous, guaranteed returns are simply lies. These websites may even make it look like your investment is growing. But people report that, when they try to withdraw supposed profits, they are told to send even more crypto – and end up getting nothing back.”
The analyst also warned about giveaway scams that often appear to be sponsored by celebrities or other known figures in the cryptocurrency space.
And scammers are said to be using whatever story that works to get people to send crypto to their wallet. People have reported sending more than $2 million in cryptocurrency to Elon Musk impersonators over just the past six months.
In fact, 14% of reported losses to imposters of all types are now in cryptocurrency.
Besides Musk, other popular celebrities and companies are used by scammers, including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Tesla, SpaceX, and Amazon. Just this March, one man shared his story of how he fell for an Elon Musk Bitcoin giveaway scam.
This is not going to slow anytime soon!
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