Scammed by a Fake Musk: South Korean Woman Loses $50,000 in Love Con

Here’s a wild story straight out of South Korea that sounds like something out of a bad movie: a woman there got totally duped by a guy pretending to be Elon Musk! Yes, you read that right. She lost a whopping $50,000 to this scammer after he slid into her DMs on Instagram, claiming he picks fans to chat with at random.

It all started when the woman, who’s a big Elon Musk fan (thanks to reading his biography), got a friend request from someone she thought was the real deal. According to The Korea Herald, she told South Korean broadcaster KBS in an interview, “On July 17 last year, Musk added me as a friend on Instagram. Although I have been a huge fan of Musk after reading his biography, I doubted it at first.” But then, the fake Elon started sending her photos that looked like they were his ID and pics of him at work. He even chatted about his kids and how he hops in a helicopter to head to Tesla or SpaceX.

The impersonator didn’t stop there. He spun a story a about meeting that the real Elon had with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, saying they discussed building Tesla’s Gigafactories in Seoul and Jeju. Talk about elaborate! And get this, during a video call—which was probably a deepfake—he dropped an “I love you, you know that?” on her. That’s when you know things are getting too real, or in this case, too fake!

Eventually, the woman was convinced to transfer 70 million Korean won (that’s about 50 grand in US dollars) to what he claimed was a bank account belonging to one of his Korean employees. He promised to make her rich by investing her money.

But she’s not the only one getting caught up in romance scams. These cons are a big deal in the US too. In 2022, romance scammers swindled a total of $1.3 billion from people, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

This isn’t the first time someone’s tried to grab some fame or cash by pretending to be Musk. Over in China, a TikToker Yilong Ma has been posting videos as a Musk look-alike. These videos even got the attention of the real Elon Musk, who tweeted, “I’d like to meet this guy (if he is real). Hard to tell with deepfakes these days.”

Crazy stuff, right? Just goes to show, the internet is a wild place where anything can happen. So, let’s stay sharp and maybe take those random DMs from celebrity accounts with a grain of salt, shall we?

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