13 Brutal Stories From People Swindled By Elon Musk Impersonation Scams

The internet is filled with scam artists who try to swindle unsuspecting people out of their money. But impersonation scams that use Elon Musk and his bevy of tech companies—including Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and X—have exploded in popularity in recent years. And Gizmodo obtained reports about many of these scams filed with the federal government over the past year.

Gizmodo submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking for complaints about scams that used the name of Musk and his companies to trick internet users into handing over their money. The FTC identified thousands of complaints filed since January 2023 but released just 200 to Gizmodo.

The complaints were redacted by the FTC making it impossible for Gizmodo to independently verify each scam, but they provide a window into how frequently these kinds of scams are being used and the kind of tactics the scammers are employing. For example, Tesla’s Cybertruck launch event in late 2023 appears to have been a popular time for scammers to pounce.

Some of the complaints are perplexing and written in scattershot phrases that don’t really help tell a story, like the complaint that reads in its entirety: “Elon Musk Fan Page Membership Card to see him personally and I could go and tour in Space X and a member of gift away.” Confusing grammar aside, you can see the rough outline of what happened there, but the complaint simply doesn’t have any more information about what went down and whether any money was lost.

But other complaints give you a sense of what actually happened and how much money was handed over to scammers. In one particularly heartbreaking story, a woman filed a complaint with the FTC after her 72-year-old husband with dementia gave money to scammers posing as people associated with the electric car company Tesla.

The complaints below have been lightly edited simply to make them easier to read, but any spelling errors and odd grammar are in the original documents. Visit any of the web domains below at your own risk. They’re obviously scams posing as legit websites tied to Musk and his companies and you shouldn’t give them your money.

$18,880 lost – Pennington, New Jersey

Yesterday on 11/30/23 during the Tesla Cybertruck event online there was a scam impersonating Elon Musk on Tesla-clubs.com. They sent a QR code with a crypto address which appeared to be a part of the event. They asked to send cryptocurrency to get more people to use crypto and to make the world a better place. Right. Fell for that.

I wanted to participate and I sent 0.5 Bitcoin to the address below: [redacted]

I shortly realized that it was a scam when I received the confirmation of the transaction because it has had spellings mistakes.

I tried to contact the Coinbase help line, but they do not have a phone number to talk to a person. They had only an auto chatbot which did not help.

Can you please help me to recover my money ? What else am I supposed to do?

Thank you very much !

$1,500 lost – Schenectady, New York

My husband, [name redacted], 72 YRS old, has diagnosed Dementia with FTD (Frontal Temporal Disorder).

Per his statements, he reads from Facebook that Tesla (Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors) has financial difficulty and asked for help to trade in purchasing the car cheaper price in the future. Then he was directed to purchase 15 pcs of $100 each Apple Gift card, scratched off the code on back of card then forwarded the code to ??? (I don’t know by email/text phone) .

I have found the 14 out of 15 gift cards at home and made a call 1-800-275-2273, (support.apple.com/giftcard ) to find out the balance is zero. Also, I search Google, Apple Gift Card to find out many others suffered with the terrible scam. It would be appreciated if FTC can investigate the case and help to stop more people suffered with the scam considering FACEBOOK is one of very popular websites. Certainly, it would be greatly appreciated if my husband can be refunded the money. I can provide the images of the cards if it is necessary.

Any questions, I can be reached at TEL: [redacted]

$12,519 lost – Concord, North Carolina

On the day of November 30th Tesla Cyber truck live event time 3pm EST while i was searching the internet and found the website https:tesla-clubs.com and also, I saw the YouTube promo video about this website for Crypto Give away “Send your DOGE to the address for X2 back.” I moved my Doge Crypto to the address [redacted]; as part of the https:tesla-clubs.com website’s cryptocurrency fraud, and I was duped. I had intended to test a smaller amount of cryptocurrency first, but I unintentionally transferred all of my doge cryptocurrency roughly $13,000 while using my ledger wallet.

$1,500 lost – St. Petersburg, Florida

The person sent me the first page of the passport of Elon Musk. Looks legitimate. Had me open an account with trust wallet. A bitcoin trading platform. It shows a deposit of almost 600,000. In the end I needed to pay 1500 dollars in fees to be able to collect on the account.

$4,300 lost – Abu Dhabi

I met a girl named [redacted] (OKC) on Telegram, after a few days we started chatting on WhatsApp, then [redacted] shared the screenshot of crypto profit with me and told me that I can also invest, then I asked [redacted] about the company, [redacted] told that spacestockmining.com is Elon Musk’s company and is regulated by government.

Then I went to the Space Stock Mininig website and selected the signup option. Then the interface of the website opened with SpaceX, Then I got confidence, then I invested 1500 USDT. And after 4 days of my 1500 USDT investment, profits started appearing on spacestockmining.com. Then after few days, I put my profit 3000 USDT withdrawal request, then I told support team chat why my withdrawal is not going through, support team said that your system synchronization process is still pending, to do this you have to deposit 1050 USDT on Spacestockmining.com, as support team chat said, I did, then I got mail and in the mail it was written that my sync process has failed because 1050 USDT is not enough, to do my synchronisation process I deposited 1100 usdt complete the synchronization process.

Then I got the mail synchronization process successful but in the mail it was written that my KYC documents are pending and for KYC process I have to deposit 650 USDT and my profit withdrawal will be processed immediately, then after few days I deposited 650 USDT and my KYC mail came complete, and in that mail I also got the Whatsapp mobile number [redacted] of payment operator, then I chatted with the payment operator [redacted] on Whatsapp, the payment operator said that, to withdraw my 3000 usdt profit I have to buy a swift linking code which is cost of 1000 usdt. Then I realised that it might be fraud.

$700 lost – Makawao, Hawaii

Hello, I had seen an advertisement on TikTok for a Bitcoin website. This particlular add appeared to be promoted by Elon Musk, who stated For those who open an account, you will receive .3 Bitcoin (Approcimately $10,000 at the time). So I created an account deposit $500 of Bitcoin. When I attempt to withdrawl funds, they say I need to deposit more funds to unlock withdrawl feature? This website is Koledex.com.

$6,700 lost – Houston, Texas

I got into a trading group supposedly to train an AI bot designed by Elon Musk. They give us signals on what tokens to trade when to get in and when to get out. Mr. [redacted] sends the signals and does the training. Which from my previous forex and hfx trading coincided with what I know and is pretty elaborate. We have a chat group on WhatsApp that people pose the wins from their trades and even transfers of money to the GCX app. Having a finance background seemed weird to me. They gave everyone who provided their proof of identity $30 to start trading with. The system changes your leverage to swipe your money. I got a friend into the app and shared signals with him. When he tried to withdraw funds it kept being rejected because the wallet address had an anomaly. He tried serveral previously used platforms such as Coinbase, kracken, cashapp, and crypto.com. When none of those worked we tried to do an internal transfer and they said that was wrong too. It wasn’t wrong when I deposited my money. The answer after your money is taken is deposit more money. I’ll help you. I looked for the most traded tokens or contracts and most I could not find. The ones that I could did not have the same price. Example GMEUSDT we are trading around $300 but on another platform it is only 0.0000019. I uploaded all the group chat messages and messages from his assistant Ms. [redacted]. She says they are located in New York. This is the website to the app or as I found out one of them https:www.gcxcrypto.coh5

$250 – Quebec, Canada

Link from a online video with Elon Musk. His company created AI investment software (Quantum AI) Targeting Canadians. I sent them money online through PayPal. Multiple calls and emails. I realized too late and didn’t respond to any more communications.

$145 – Flat Rock, Michigan

I saw this ad on TikTok about Elon Musk giving a referral code to mitelex.com website for .23 BTC to get started. I tried it and it added the money into the wallet, but to withdrawal the money, you need to deposit 0.00306 BTC to be able to verify the wallet in order to withdrawal the funds. I deposited 145 dollars which is 0.0032 and it didn’t verify the wallet. They said it had to be EXACT amount to be able to unlock your wallet to withdrawal the money. So, I lost 145 dollars to that. I just hope nobody else is getting caught by this.

$13,500 – Taipei City, Taiwan

TLDR This website claims that if I send bitcoins or other cryptocurrency to their address, they’ll pay more back.

The index page (index.html, https:tesla-prize-x.com) shows a fake medium website saying that Elon Musk is giving away free crypto for a limited time. If we click on the links on this page, most of them lead to the legit Medium site. Scammers use this method to trick users into thinking that everything on this website is real.

Additionally, if we click on the link labeled Click Here – Get BTC , it leads to a page with a huge X (company) logo claiming that we need to send bitcoins to a specific address to get paid.

What’s more, at the bottom of the page, there seems to be a real-time transaction leaderboard. If we open the developer tools (Ctrl Shift I), there are no ongoing WebSocketHTTP-fetch sessions, which proves that the data from the leaderboard is randomly generated through Javascript.

$0 lost – City unknown

Facebook form that filled out to win tesla from Elon musk giveaway.

Filled out form with name, address, phone number, email address.

Two days later said to send $200 for registration. I did not send money, sent emails and texts couple days later asking for $500. I have not sent money Called with impersonation of Elon musk. Blocked number that called.

I am elderly and concerned for my safety now that I have given my personal information

$1,000 lost – Nagpur, India

She had assured me to return my lost money, and also talked about managing the account of Elon Musk. And by telling me emotional things and pretending to be in love with me, she has taken an amount of 700 to 1000 dollars from me on some pretext or the other and is saying don’t talk to me now, and has also blocked all the numbers.

$0 – Redmond, Oregon

Found a video on 9gag about Elon Musk doing something of Bitcoin giveaway on a website called livebitx.com. You go there, create an account, and enter a promo code “ELON65.” After which it gives you 0.29 Bitcoin, but your account isn’t verified and you can’t do anything with it until you deposit 0.005 Bitcoin into the account. I didn’t do it. But I thought I should tell you guys about it.

If you see anything on social media that claims you need to send someone money, whether it’s in the form of crypto or gift cards, before you can unlock or earn money, it’s definitely a scam. Be careful out there, folks. Especially as crypto prices climb to levels we haven’t seen in over two years. FOMO is a hell of a drug.

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