Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, raises alarm over crypto scams

Temitope Akintade

Entrepreneur and business magnate, Elon Musk Wednesday, lamented the widespread proliferation of cryptocurrency spam on Twitter, responding to a screenshot of a giveaway scam posted by Dogecoin co-founder, Billy Markus.

This is not the first time Elon Musk has called out crypto scammers. In 2018, long before he showed interest in cryptocurrency, he called attention to Ethereum spambots. Meanwhile, in July 2020, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian and some other influential people became the targets of Bitcoin fraudsters – and was regarded as the biggest Twitter hack ever. The crypto scammers that impersonated Musk went home with about $2 million, according  to data published by the Federal Trade Commission in 2021.

According to data from blockchain analytics firm, Chanalysis, scammers around the world took home a record $14 billion in cryptocurrency in 2021. Losses from crypto-related crime rose 79% from 2020. Cryptocurrency theft increased 516% from 2020, to $3.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency. Crypto spams like that are not limited to Twitter, as Instagram and Facebook are also replete with crypto spammers promising naive people giveaways in order to swindle them. 

As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, scammers are devising new means. The most prominent is investment and business opportunity scams – fake companies promising lots of money and financial freedom in a short time.

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The scammers tell unsuspecting victims to pay in cryptocurrency for the right to recruit others into a program. There are others who send unsolicited job offers to help recruit cryptocurrency investors, sell cryptocurrency, mine cryptocurrency, or help with converting cash to bitcoin.

Some others list scam jobs on job websites. They promise jobs (for a fee), but end up taking the victim’s money or personal information.

Traders, investors, noobs need to be vigilant in order not to a scammer’s nest. As an investment newbie, you need to understand how investments work, monitor the processes and follow the money. Legit investment schemes and advisors always share that information with their clients.

Offline and online research saves you from avoidable mistakes. Before investing or making that deal, run through the name of the company and the cryptocurrency name, plus words like “review, scam, complaint”. Scroll through what others are saying, then read more about other common investment scams.

Cryptocurrency scams and other suspicious activities can also be reported to the cryptocurrency exchange or platform used for the transaction.

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