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Elon Musk Impersonators Driving Millions in Crypto Scam Money: FTC Featured

Cryptocurrency investors are getting ripped off by orders or magnitude more than they were at the same point last year, according to a new analysis by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

elon musk 6222396 640Per the FTC data, consumers have lost more than $80 million in crypto-related scams since October of 2020; this represents an approximately 1,000% year-over-year increase. The report shows that close to 7,000 reports of cryptocurrency-related scams have been lodged in Q4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021. The median amount of the losses is just under $2,000, it adds.

“The 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,” according to the FTC. “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 since October.”

According to the FTC, the spotlight report shows those aged 20 to 49 were 500% more likely than their older counterparts to get hosed by a crypto-related scam. In the six-month period studied, those in their 20s and in their 30s lost more to investment scams than any other type of fraudulent activity. “More than half of their investment scam losses were in cryptocurrency,” notes the report.

From Twitter:

Briankrebs @briankrebs May 14

"Feeling the heat, DarkSide ransomware group--the one responsible for attacking Colonial Pipeline--closes after its servers were seized and cryptocurrency holdings mysteriously disappeared. Closure comes as crime forums start banning ransomware threads https://krebsonsecurity.com/2021/05/darkside-ransomware-gang-quits-after-servers-bitcoin-stash-seized/"

Further, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky notes that “imposter websites” are a popular way for con artists to lure unsuspecting victims. These scams can even be pulled off as consumers are actively trying to follow credible tips from actual experts, according to the firm. “There’s a surprising number of websites that have been set up to resemble original, valid startup companies. If there isn't a small lock icon indicating security near the URL bar and no ‘https’ in the site address think twice,” they note.

Be on the lookout too, warns Kaspersky, for sites that redirect you to third-party platforms to collect payment. In these instances, you might click a link that appears identical to a legitimate website, but the attackers may have swapped out similar-looking characters in the URL like zero and “o” in order to redirect you somewhere you do not want to be. “That platform, of course, isn’t taking you to the cryptocurrency investment that you’ve already researched. To avoid this, carefully type the exact URL into your browser. Double check it, too,” they suggest.

From Twitter:

Duvar English @DuvarEnglish May 11

"Following the recent explosive developments in the Turkish cryptocurrency market, a guide has been prepared and released by the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) to regulate trade. However, experts say it is not enough. #Turkey https://www.duvarenglish.com/turkeys-financial-crimes-watchdog-issues-new-cryptocurrency-trade-regulations-news-57443"

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