In March 2021, Sebastian received a Tweet from an account he thought was the real Elon Musk.

“Dojo 4 Doge?” read the message from an account purportedly run by Musk’s team, describing a competition that promised to double the amount of crypto sent in by participants.

Sebastian, who lives in Cologne, Germany, later told BBC that while he had some apprehensions, the website he was directed to looked legitimate, and the potential returns were too good to turn down. It wasn’t long before he sent ten Bitcoin (at the time valued at over $600,000) to the crypto address provided on the site. Unfortunately, after the timer on the website reached zero, Sebastian (who asked that the BBC not use his real name) realized he’d been tricked.

Stories like this are all too common. According to the Federal Trade Commission, since October 2020, almost 7,000 people have reported losses totaling more than $80 million in the U.S. alone.

12 times the number of reports…

Most Bitcoin scams aren’t quite as devastating as Sebastian’s, though. The FTC’s report reveals median losses have totaled $1,900. But compared to the same period a year prior, there were 12 times the number of reports and a nearly 1,000 percent increase in reported losses.

It’s not just hobbyists like Sebastian, Wall Street investors are falling victim, too. This February, 24-year-old crypto hedge-fund manager Stefan Qin plead guilty to one count of securities fraud after confessing to lying to investors for years…

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