$11 000 USD
DESCRIPTION OF EVENTS
"Ms Bushnell, an investor in cryptocurrency, spotted an item on a website that appeared to use BBC News branding, claiming Mr Musk, the billionaire boss of the Tesla car firm, would pay back double the sum of any Bitcoin deposit." "It used the name of entrepreneur Elon Musk and a story on a fake BBC website suggesting she could double her money in a giveaway of the cryptocurrency."
"Bushnell came across an article that appeared quite legitimate and seemed to mimic the look and structure of a piece published on the BBC. The article discussed a big bitcoin giveaway that was being hosted by Musk himself. He allegedly stated that anyone who was willing to donate bitcoin would see their figures double by his own hand… A common strategy amongst thieves."
"She paid £9,000, which she had saved for a deposit on a new home. When no reciprocal payment arrived it dawned on her that she had become the victim of a scam."
"The teacher frantically scurried to suspend her Lloyds account and any pending transactions, but it was already too late."
"Speaking publicly for the first time since the incident, she said she was 'ashamed and embarrassed', suffered panic attacks and was constantly 'crying and shaking'."
She said: "It has affected me massively. I wish I could have that time back - go in a time machine and not make those couple of clicks."
'I tried to sleep but couldn’t as I was having constant panic attacks and couldn’t stop shaking.
'I feel utterly depressed and I don’t know where to turn or how I will get past this horrific situation.
'I can’t eat or sleep properly and I keep crying while at work and running off to the toilets during the day and breaking down in floods of tears feeling ashamed and embarrassed of what has happened.'
Ms Bushnell, who has reported the crime to Sussex Police and Action Fraud, added: "They have robbed me of my dignity, self-respect, self-worth and strength. They have sucked all the goodness of life out of me.
"The science teacher insists she still thinks about her actions 'every day' and wants to raise awareness to ensure others don't fall victim to similar scams."
"I want to raise awareness of this scam so it doesn't happen to other vulnerable people."
"The fake site is still currently online. Research by crypto-community Whale Alert suggests so-called giveaway gangs made more than $18m worldwide in the first three months of 2021, with more than 5,600 victims - compared with 10,500 in the whole of 2020."
The BBC said it was taking action to have the site closed down, adding: "We urge people to check the veracity of [websites] and not to supply any personal information."
Ms Bushnell was tricked into participating in a bitcoin doubling scam, which claimed using legitimate looking news sites that Elon Musk was doubling the money of investors. After sending in 9000 GBP ($11000 USD), she received nothing back.
HOW COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?
Never send money to an individual or organization with the expectation of receiving back an unrealistic return.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-sussex-57102038 (Jun 5)
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56402378 (Jun 5)
Teacher Julie Bushnell Is the Latest Victim of a Bitcoin Scam | Live Bitcoin News (Jul 7)
Brighton teacher falls for Bitcoin scam after fake BBC News website promised Elon Musk giveaway | Daily Mail Online (Jul 7)