Social media is filled with countless scammers trying to capitalize on Elon Musk’s name. Just take a look under any of Musk’s tweets and you’ll see people promising crypto giveaways, which are actually just scams that siphon money away from users. Are these scams really worth it? These are true. And I’ve obtained the stories to prove it.
In order to find out about consumer complaints against companies, I file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), requests frequently with the FTC. Previously I’ve done this with FTX, Tinder and Canon just to name a few. It’s an interesting way to learn about customer service problems. But when I recently filed a FOIA request for complaints about Tesla, I received some documents that I didn’t expect.
The majority of complaints concerned Tesla. People were complaining about issues with financing and warranties. But consumers were also complaining about scams on social media where the con artists were using the Tesla brand and Elon Musk’s name to rip people off. And there were way more of these stories than I ever would’ve expected.
Almost all of the complaints were about crypto coins such as Ethereum
Some of the scams involved cryptocurrencies with names like Mini Tesla and Tesla Token, while other scams had URLs involving space exploration and seemed to capitalize on Musk’s desire to send humans to Mars with his company SpaceX. One of the complaints even involved a person who claimed to work for Tesla, though I wasn’t able to confirm whether that was true, given the nature of the FTC’s redactions of the documents to protect the privacy of users.
It appears that many people realized the importance of not investing in suspect cryptocurrency online. But some of the complaints are heartbreaking precisely because it seems they didn’t learn their lesson. One example is when someone claims they were scammed out of their money after reading that Musk was creating a cryptocurrency token. However, it turns out this scheme is a fraud.
“They were running a token pre-sale for Tesla, I was interested. But I didn’t allow myself enough time to do my research on them before investing into what I thought was an actual pre-sale of a new Tesla token,” the complaint reads.
But the complaint to the FTC didn’t end there. Next is the most heartbreaking sentence.
“Elon did in fact release a new token, but the one I purchased was not the legit token,” the complaint continued.
Musk has not yet released his cryptocurrency token. Musk is open about the crypto investments he made in Bitcoin and Dogecoin. However, if the anonymous investor invested in another token claiming to be associated with Musk in any way they were scammed once again.
Many complaints provide detailed explanations and details about how the victims lost their money. Some of the complaints are short warnings to FTC. Others include URLs or social media handles that indicate where they were allegedly scammed.
The complaints have been redacted by the FTC to protect the privacy of the people who got scammed and I’ve made additional redactions in some instances to not give out the URLs of scammers, which runs the risk of legitimizing their scams in search engines. Most of the websites in the complaints have been pulled offline already but there’s always the chance they could be rebooted if the scammers notice a flurry of traffic. But searches on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine have allowed me to verify that these URLS were indeed in existence over the past two years, sometimes with terrible spelling and grammatical errors.
For example, in the screenshot I’ve captured below on the Wayback Machine, you can see the word “marathon” is misspelled as “maraton.”
For readability, some complaints have received very minor changes in spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. The FTC has not made any changes to the complaint.
Attention, people! Crypto is still the Wild West. Especially when scammers try to use Elon Musk’s image to swindle people out of money.
“I transferred $1,200 in Bitcoin”
Facebook posted an advertisement for Tesla Token. This looks like Elon Musk offering new cryptos as a startup offer. From my Coinbase account, I sent $1,200 in Bitcoin. They have sent me emails and I will forward these to you if they are helpful. […]Yes. My money would be returned. However, I’d like them to be stopped and detained more. You can contact me any time.
“I sent 10,000 Dogecoin in the understanding he would send back 20,000 doge for my investment.”
I was watching Elon live in action during a meeting. He spoke of Dogecoin falling to 0.12 cents per coin, before fully investing. The banner above the video indicated where your Doge should be sent. (Presumably at the time it was Elon’s public Doge wallet address) I sent 10,000 Dogecoin in the understanding he would send back 20,000 Doge for my investment. My coin was never returned to me after I had sent it. Crypto.com said they couldn’t help me. Although I attempted to contact Crypto.com, they said that they don’t deal with wallets or public funds. I have the wallet address but that’s the only info I have at the moment. The funds were never withdrawn and I just don’t know what to do at this point. We would greatly appreciate your assistance.
“I submitted an order for 40,000 tokens”
My wife and I shared a Facebook Event about Tesla Tokens’ release which led to you being sent. [redacted](This image is also fake. I looked at it). The image links to [redacted]Where you can purchase Tesla tokens with cryptocurrency. The equivalent to 800 USDC, I placed an order for 40,000 tokens.
. To deny access, I’ve since taken any money from that wallet. You can also fill out your personal information and upload documents like driver’s license or passport.
“Elon Musk was doubling BTC”
Elon Musk stated that he was going to double BTC. To the provided address, I sent 1 BTC to Gemini Exchange. Coinbase Exchange account. I sent 0.01.28. The next night I reported a phishing site to the US Secret Service and completed an IC3.gov form. However, my BTC never received.
“I’m an idiot and never got anything back”
You can watch the live YouTube event by pretending that you are Elon Musk. [redacted]In exchange for twice the amount. [Redacted] – this is the YouTube it’s on and it continues to live stream. Says 37k are watching now and it’s all a hoax. So I sent ETH to the crypto address and of course, I’m an idiot and never got anything back. This is my crypto wallet [redacted]That I have sent money to is deceiving everyone.
“Now the site is gone and I can’t get my money back”
Instagram posted the news about the Tesla token sale. When I visited the website, they were still selling tokens. I made an account and purchased 300 tokens. Ethereum was the currency I used to pay. Now the site is gone and I can’t get my money back.
“I obviously did not receive anything in return and am now at a loss of roughly $2,000”
I received a notification via Twitter that I had been added to Elon Musk’s CryptoCurrency Giveaway list. This giveaway was run by a scam account named Elon Musk [redacted]Some unreliable numbers near the end. It also featured the exact same profile photo that Elon Musk actually used. Instructions provided a link. [redacted]. The website also included a description of the exciting way Elon Musk and Tesla Marketing team made cryptocurrency more popular by launching a contest to win Bitcoin and Ethereum. There was also a link on this site to www.medium.com. It was very easy to follow the rules: You could choose Bitcoin or Ethereum and send either a minimum of 0.025 Bitcoin (or 0.5 Ethereum) and you would get double your amount in return. This happened within minutes. This giveaway had a limited time period and was open to anyone who was interested. It seemed legit to me at the time. There were hundreds of comments from fellow users who had success, and they received their perspectives amounts. I also found photo evidence. It also had the lock symbol at the top of the webpage next to its name. This further confirmed that this was an actual giveaway. It sounded great to me so I signed up for the giveaway. Below you will find my receipt for the amount I sent in ETH, as well as the address of the scammers’ wallet. [redacted]I received nothing in return, and my Ethereum currency loss is approximately $2,000 USD. This is beyond disappointing and embarrassing. I did not expect this to happen. I am not sure what to do at this point and don’t know if there is any way to track down my funds to get them back. In the hope that this scammer is caught, I am reporting it.
“It was stupid of me, and I never fall for these things”
Following the official Elon Musk Twitter account, I received a notification from Elon Musk that I had been added to his List Giveaway Marathon. Clicking the link revealed that Elon Musk randomly selected 1,000 people to take part in a large crypto giveaway. Get in quick to sign up [redacted]. Although it was stupid, I didn’t fall for this. Maybe it was the late night or because I was feeling sick. The website said that you could send small amounts of Bitcoin to this BTC account and Elon Musk/Tesla would return a multiplied sum. The fraudulent BTC account was this: [redacted] I realized quickly after I sent it that there were small typos on the website and that the Twitter handle that looked identical to Elon Musk’s official one was not him. It was obvious that it was a scam to get people bitcoin. I just don’t want anyone else to fall for it like I stupidly did. They are a serious problem.
“I saw the list was created officially from Elon Musk’s official account on Twitter”
Twitter sent me a notice that Elon Musk had added his list to their site (a brand new Twitter feature). I entered the list and I saw the list was created officially from Elon Musk’s official account on Twitter, and that’s why I trusted it. This is the url for the list. Here is the URL [redacted]. I sent my bitcoins money to this address.
“I have to say, it was very well orchestrated.”
YouTube opened immediately and I saw the live stream, which had 67,000 viewers. This was an interview between Elon Musk and Cathy Woods. Jack Dorsey gave a secret message for them to send crypto. It was well-organized, I must say. How did they get their stream to appear on YouTube’s homepage? They are supposed to represent my trusted subscription pages. Well, there were some unidentified subscriptions I found in my YouTube account. The fake Ark Invest channel also appeared.
“I understand my money is probably long gone”
A link was sent to me to what looked like a Guardian news article. It took me to the Tesla Token presale webpage, but I clicked on anything. After reviewing the terms and conditions, I decided that this was an actual new cryptocurrency. We verified our email addresses and identities, and everything seemed legitimate to us. After that, we were able to buy the Tesla Token. It wasn’t until I sent this to another family member that they started to find some inconsistencies with what was noted on the previous webpage that didn’t match up. The Guardian website and Elon Musk’s tweet were both fabricated. After reviewing the Terms and Conditions again on the Tesla Token website, I discovered that the same terms were used almost exactly word for word by TokenTax. One last thing I saw was a countdown ticker. This resets every day, and then moves the release day forward. (Yesterday it indicated that the last day for buying Tesla Token was January 4th. Today it shows that it is Jan 5th). I didn’t realize paying in crypto versus any other payment method was likely a scam. While I am aware that my money has probably been lost, I want to spare someone from losing even more.
“I was scammed”
Tesla was giving away 5,000 freebies. You will receive 2-10 BTC if you send 0.0245 BTC to their account. This is why I sent them 0.0245 BTC. Their account is [redacted]. It was a scam and I didn’t know it. What do I need to do? Do you think there is a way to recover my BTC. Please help me.
“It wants you to send 150 in Ethereum and then you will get Tesla crypto”
Advertise on Facebook for a chance to win a Tesla-developed cryptocurrency. I shouldn’t have done that and accepted it. The site wants you to send 150 Ethereum coins and then you can get Tesla crypto. After you submit it, the site will inform you that it has canceled the transaction and provide no contact details.
“I bought $200 of this coin about 10 days ago but am unable to sell”
Mini Tesla, a cryptocurrency or alt coin is available. They are web-based and have support websites on Telegram and Twitter. Are you unsure if the company has ever been reported? This coin was purchased $200 by me about 10 days back, but I am not able to sell it! This is an issue with the mini Tesla, as I have seen many posts in the past few days. You can find out what their offers are and the percentages that you should be paying when you sell on their site. However, no one can actually sell! One post was written by a man who had set the slippage at 80. However, the website says that there is a maximum of 14. It is impossible to get this coin sold. All suggestions but nothing! This site takes your money, not allows you to sell or wrongly advertise a product that you cannot make money from! If you contact them via Telegram and Twitter, and start asking about fees or why they can’t sell their coin, they will shut down your chat and remove all messages!!
Scammer claimed Elon Musk had released the SpaceX token. This advertisement was posted on Facebook by my stupidity for not conducting research. The company asked that money be transferred to a particular wallet and then they would modify the amount through their website. They offered 20 bonuses for adding more cash.
“They then personify Tesla and tell gullible people that they will receive up to 5,000 BTC”
One Twitter account with handle [redacted] has been spreading videos on Twitter of a snippet of Elon Musk’s Twitter account, with a link to a Bitcoin giveaway. Then they portray Tesla, telling gullible customers that they’ll receive 5,000 BTC in exchange for 0.02 to 5 BTC. This will allow them to verify their addresses. You can link to the website [redacted]
“Tesla was mining tokens”
While browsing Instagram, I saw an ad that Tesla was mining tokens. 1TT = 1.25USD. I clicked the advertisement to see more. [redacted] after inputting my credentials. After entering my credentials, I was invited to buy a minimum 200 TT for $250 USD. To deposit my money, I was offered the following ETH address [redacted]. After sending the ETH equivalent of $250 USD to the ETH address, I couldn’t access the site [redacted]Again, I had to enter my login information. My email address was not recognised by their system, even when I tried to reset it using my forgot password. I need your help to fight this injustice.
“…as a give away by Elon Musk”
The website requested that you transfer Bitcoin in order to increase their value. Elon Musk gave it away. It was the address: b(6). This was the address b(6). I transferred 0.02 Bitcoin. Transaction hash [redacted]
“It was setup to look like he’s giving away cryptocurrency.”
Live Twitch stream of Elon Musk talking to some people, I suppose a video, but was made look to seem as if it’s being broadcasted live. It was setup to look like he’s giving away cryptocurrency. You are asked to send them at least 0.1 bitcoin. They then promise you the double amount. In this example, it is 0.2 btc. Although Twitch personnel shut down the broadcast quickly, the fakers’ site is still online [redacted]. We hope you will take action to stop them.
“I invested $1,000”
On October 1, 2021 I made a $1,000 investment and received 424,201 tokens. Token holders were entitled to get NFTs after each calendar quarter. Numerous attempts to get NFT distribution information from the company failed after tokens were not received on January 1, 2022 or later. None of these responses were received as yet. In the meantime, Twitter and Facebook posts encouraging investors to buy Tesla Tokens have been posted. These tweets indicate that new investors will get NFTs every quarter. This report is intended to alert others of a potential fraudulent scheme.
“I thought was an actual pre-sale of a new Tesla token”
A token pre-sale had been launched for Tesla. But I didn’t allow myself enough time to do my research on them before investing into what I thought was an actual pre-sale of a new Tesla token. Elon released a brand new token. However, I did not purchase the legitimate one. Their website was [redacted]
“44,000 for $800 worth of Ethereum”
My mistake, I believed I was buying Tesla Token in a presale. For $800, 44,000 Ethereum tokens. Site had since shut down. Website was as follows [redacted]
“Said it was an $800 minimum investment”
The ad I saw for Tesla Token was on Facebook. So, I went there. It had Elon Musk’s name and info all over it and said it was an $800 minimum investment. I created a MEW account and transferred the Ethereum funds. I am not experienced in cryptocurrency but see it’s gaining popularity so figured I would give it a try. After I inquired about trading, they replied to me by email on February 7, 222. After three days, I tried to reach them again for information about trading. They never returned my call. That’s when the website disappeared. It won’t let me add the website address in the website box above as it says it’s in the wrong format, but this is the only address I have for their website that used to show my investment.
“They got my driver’s license pictures and crypto wallet address.”
Yep, saw the news that Elon Musk was selling Tesla coins on Facebook and clicked the link. And then I have found out it’s a scam website. They got my driver’s license pictures and crypto wallet address.
“THEN I TRIED TO STOP THE PROCESS BUT IT WAS TO LATE”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is my follower as a Tesla employee. The account Elon Musk sent me a tweet notification. [redacted]A Tesla Bitcoin Promotion. Following the link, I was intrigued to take part! My authenticating device, which was located in San Francisco, turned out to be my Fremont address! Two devices tried to verify my credentials. THEN, I tried to stop the process but it was too late. My Coinbase wallet had received 0.7 bitcoin!