Julie Bushell, a teacher from Brighton, UK, fell prey to online scammers and was duped of more than Rs 9 lakh. The fake scheme promised that the deposited money, in Bitcoins, would be returned in double by tech billionaire Elon Musk. Bushell, a cryptocurrency investor, spotted a fake news story posted on a ‘BBC-like’ website which did not seem suspicious because it looked very similar to the original website of the UK-based news organisation. The story mentioned that Musk was giving away $750 million, and she could double her money in the scheme. Bushell paid £9,000 (approximately Rs 9.2 lakh) which she had saved to deposit for a new home.
"I think about it every minute of every day," Bushell told BBC. She has informed Sussex Police and Action Fraud about the crime. The news organisation said that it is trying to get the website down, which was still online.
Having lost her savings, Bushell said that she is massively affected and she wished she could go back in time to not stop herself from making “those couple of clicks.” "They have robbed me of my dignity, self-respect, self-worth, and strength. They have sucked all the goodness of life out of me,” she added.
Bushell’s story is not the only example of online giveaway scamming. According to experts, giveaway scammers have made more than $18 million (Rs 131 crore) in the first three months of 2021. The frauds make use of the credibility and reach of noted people and organisations such as BBC and Elon Musk in Bushell’s case.
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has a huge fan following and attracts thousands of comments on his tweets. Since Musk keeps tweeting about cryptocurrency, his tweets are hotspots for social media users who invest in cryptocurrency. Naturally, his tweets are also hotbeds of cryptocurrency scammers. They use verified accounts to make tempting offers to attract innocent users.