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Thousands of fake employees claiming to work for Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) have been running a scamming network designed to lure people into financial traps according to a report from the MIT Technology Review that uses information gathered by a columnist working for Financial Times China. The 'accounts' claim to work for the American company, after having graduated from top universities in both the U.S. and China. They are part of an elaborate network of fake LinkedIn accounts that have managed to trick people out of large sums of amount, which in one case amounted to an eye-watering $1 million.
Fake SpaceX LinkedIn Accounts Claim To Have Spent Decades In The U.S But List Down Profile Information In Chinese
The report cites information from Jeff Li, who writes for the Financial Times China and is based out of Toronto, Canada. A YouTube report from Li in July this year shared thousands of profiles on LinkedIn that allegedly belonged to individuals working for SpaceX and claimed to have graduated from U.S. and Chinese universities.
The trend was even reported on the Chinese social media network Weibo, with one user sharing a local publication's report of graduates from China's Tsinghua University, and others calling the 'SpaceX employees' traitors and even stating that China should strengthen its working environment to retain the top talent.
MIT Technology Review quotes Li as outlining that:
They all graduated from Tsinghua and went on to the University of Southern California or similar well-known universities. Besides that, they all worked at a certain company in Shanghai. Obviously, I suspect these are fake, generated data.
Lin's report shares several profiles that belong to all levels of SpaceX employees, and nearly all of them also list Tsinghua University as their alma mater. However, nearly all of them also claim to have graduated from either the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania or Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
While there are no details of scams being committed by the accounts listing SpaceX as their employer, others that are part of the same ring have hit their mark. The Review quotes a woman from California who was tricked into sending $1 million to the scammer through a cryptocurrency confidence game.
The woman was initially lured to send $10,000 to a Coinbase account and then use the cryptocurrency to make 'investments' into a platform that the scammer shared. Over time, she lost over $1 million, only to find out later that the platform was fake when she was unable to make withdrawals of large sums of money.
Scams involving SpaceX are common, as they seek to leverage the surging popularity the company has witnessed over recent years as it became the first to both successfully land a rocket and to send astronauts to space. Other scams often involve YouTube live stream events that play recordings of SpaceX's chief Mr. Elon Musk's presentations and ask viewers to invest in fake schemes that are purportedly being marked by Musk.
The executive's Twitter account is also known for attracting countless 'bot' accounts that run similar scams and promise cryptocurrency payouts to the willing. Another scam involved one of the first Musk deep fakes when a video that surfaced earlier this year encouraged viewers to make an investment to receive "exactly 30 percent" in dividends.