Elon Musk Impersonators Take in $2M
in Cryptocurrency Investment Scams
May 17, 2021
Since October 2020, consumers have
reported losing more than $80 million to cryptocurrency investment scams, an
increase of more than ten-fold year-over-year, according to a new data analysis
from the Federal Trade Commission.
In a new consumer protection data spotlight, the FTC breaks down the contents of
nearly 7,000 reports received from consumers about these scams in the last
quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. The median amount consumers
reported losing to the scams was $1,900.
spotlight notes that cryptocurrency investment scams take on a variety of forms,
sometimes starting as offers of investment “tips” or “secrets” in online message
boards that lead people to bogus investment websites. Another common form of the
scam involves a promise that a celebrity associated with cryptocurrency will
multiply any cryptocurrency you send to their wallet and send it back. In fact,
consumers reported losing more than $2 million to Elon Musk impersonators alone
The spotlight notes that consumers age 20 to 49 were over five times more likely
than older age groups to report losing money to a cryptocurrency investment
scam, and that in the six-month period covered by the spotlight, consumers in
their 20s and 30s lost more money to investment scams than any other form of
fraud. More than half of their investment scam losses were in cryptocurrency.