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Fake Musks made $2 million in crypto scams since October, FTC says

The agency said people lost more than $80 million to the scams during the last quarter of 2020 and first of 2021.

Elon Musk gestures with both hands.

Scammers have posed Elon Musk as part of a massive increase in phony crypto investment schemes, the FTC said.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP

People posing as Tesla CEO Elon Musk have scammed consumers who thought they were investing in cryptocurrencies out of more than $2 million since October, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

Crypto scams overall cost people more than $80 million during the last quarter of 2020 and the first of 2021, the FTC said. The agency added that it received nearly 7,000 reports during the period, a 12-fold increase in reports of phony crypto investment schemes from the same period a year earlier. The median loss was nearly $2,000, up drastically as well.

A common form of the scam involves tips, while another "involves a promise that a celebrity associated with cryptocurrency will multiply any cryptocurrency you send to their wallet and send it back," the FTC said. Dating scams also popped up.

The crypto scams overwhelming targeted young people, according to the FTC, with those ages 20 to 49 five times more likely to lose money than older consumers.

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