When cryptocurrencies were first making headlines, one meme reigned supreme on the internet. The “Doge” meme, which depicts a particularly sassy-looking Shiba Inu dog, was just as big as Bitcoin back in the early 2010s. So, marrying the internet’s two favorite things resulted in the “joke” currency DogeCoin, which is a crypto standard with imaginary coins that bear the image of the famous pup.
The currency remained essentially worthless for years until recent interest injected serious money into the standard. Much of that interest has been fueled by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. Musk’s extreme personal wealth and unusual personality make him a celebrity on the internet, and it seems only natural that he would be interested in this off-beat cryptocurrency. The Tesla CEO’s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live was forecasted to bring about a huge boost for DogeCoin, but some crypto investors found themselves the victim of a scam instead.
Musk has been promoting this cryptocurrency on his Twitter account for some time, and many expected him to mention it on Saturday Night Live. Doge enthusiasts hoped this would help their investments in the currency pay off by driving new buyers online. However, enterprising scammers took advantage of this excitement by setting up YouTube live streams of the episode and claiming that they had Dodge Coins to give away.
The scams purported that Musk had earmarked some 500,000,000 Doge Coins to be given away to people who already owned the currency. They told viewers of the live streams to simply send in their DogeCoin so that the coins could be verified, and that they would then be sent double that amount back.
You’ve surely guessed what the scam entailed. No one who sent any currency to these accounts got their money back. Instead, the scammers simply lined their online wallets with the digital currency. There was no Elon Musk DogeCoin fund, and the currency was barely mentioned during his SNL episode.
Thanks to the anonymous nature of the currency and the nebulous laws surrounding crypto, the scammers are unlikely to be brought to justice. Those who fell for the scam are likely just out the money they sent in, as there is little legal recourse for scams involving untraceable online coins. The lack of a central banking agency overseeing the currency was originally pitched as one of crypto’s strengths. Now, however, many crypto investors wish there was a central authority to help them with scams like these.