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‘I lost £400,000 to Fake Elon Musk Giveaway Scam’

Bitcoin: Fake Elon Musk giveaway scam 'cost man £400,000'

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Sebastian will always remember the moment he lost £407,000, with equal parts anger and shame.

The night leading up to it had been otherwise forgettable.

He and his wife watched a series on Netflix, before she went to bed and left him on the sofa messing about on his phone.

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Then he received a Twitter notification with news from Elon Musk.

Sebastian told the BBC: “Musk tweeted, ‘Dojo 4 Doge?’ and I wondered what it meant.

“There was a link to a new event below, so I clicked on it and saw that he was giving away Bitcoin!”

He saw Mr Musk send a fresh cryptic tweet and felt reassured that the giveaway was real.

But slowly the timer on the website ran down to zero, and Sebastian said: “I realised then that it was a big fake.

“I threw my head on to the sofa cushions and my heart was beating so hard. I thought I’d just thrown away the game-changer for my family, my early retirement fund and all the upcoming holidays with my kids.

“I went upstairs and sat on the edge of the bed to tell my wife. I woke her up and told her that I’d made a big mistake, a really big mistake.”

Sebastian, who asked that the BBC didn’t use his real name, didn’t sleep that night.

Instead, he spent hours emailing the scammer website and tweeting the fake Elon Musk’ Twitter account to try to get some or all of his money back.

However, he eventually began to accept the money was gone forever.

133 miles away in Amsterdam, analysts at Whale Alert had watched in horror as Sebastian’s 10 Bitcoin were transferred and then cashed out anonymously a few days later.

The blockchain analysis company has tried to get authorities to take action against the scams for months, but says nothing is being done.

The analysts use a public ledger that shows all movement of cryptocurrencies in real time to spot trends and track money.

They have identified which Bitcoin addresses or wallets are operated by so-called “giveaway scammers” and have tracked the increasing amount of money they are making. Sebastian’s 10 Bitcoin was the most they’d ever recorded being lost in one transaction.

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