Scammers posing as Elon Musk are stealing from young investors, FTC says
CNBC — Scammers pretending to be Elon Musk have stolen at least $2 million from cryptocurrency investors over the past six months, the Federal Trade Commission said.
Con artists are stealing from people in so-called “giveaway scams” where people pose as celebrities or known figures in the crypto-world. They promise to “multiply” the cryptocurrency that investors send — but pocket the crypto instead, CNBC reported.
These crypto-scams have surged since October, hitting their highest level on record in the first quarter of 2021, according to FTC data.
The timing line up with a run-up in the price of bitcoin and other popular digital currencies. Bitcoin was trading at more than $59,000 on March 31 — a return of 450% relative to its $10,710 close on Sept. 30.
Nearly 7,000 people reported faux crypto investments form October through March and lost more than $80 million total, according to the FTC.
That’s about 12 times the number of reports and almost 1,000% more in reported losses than the same period a year earlier, the agency said. The actual figures may be much higher since the data only reflects scams reported by consumers.
The typical person reported a loss of $1,900. Young investors (those ages 20 to 49) were over five times more likely to report losing money on cryptocurrency investment scams, according to the FTC.
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