Crypto Con Artist Baits Investors In Fake Mercedes-Tesla Car LaunchGiancarlo Perlas March 20, 2023
A YouTube channel masking itself as officially owned by Mercedes-Benz tricked over 160,000 subscribers into watching a live stream last week that supposedly showed the unveiling of a new car in collaboration with Tesla. Lawrence Hodge, a writer for Jalopnik, discovered the video and immediately reached the German brand and Tesla for confirmation of the live video’s authenticity.
Mercedes-Benz Denies Collaboration with Tesla to that Point
Jalopnik said that a Mercedes representative outright confirmed that the feed titled “LIVE: Unveiling Mercedes-Benz & Tesla Collaboration Model – A car that changes everything” was indeed fake. Neither Tesla nor Elon Musk’s official Twitter account could be reached for comments during the event though.
Telltale Signs that the Mercedes-Tesla Collaboration Video is Fake
According to the writer, there were telltale signs that the feed was a con from the start even before Mercedes’ response to his query. First, the channel’s host came with the moniker “@mercedesbenz180”, which had the same logo and display name as Mercedes-Benz’s official channel on the video streaming platform. It should be noted, however, that the luxury brand’s handle is actually “@MercedesBenz”, which has over 1.77 million subscribers.
Upon further investigation, the post was eventually traced to a video from Tesla’s 2022 shareholder meeting. The disinformation campaign perpetrated by the scammer even had superimposed live chat, Twitter feeds, and a QR code. It highlighted a tweet from Musk telling people to invest in the new venture of Mercedes and Tesla by scanning the QR code provided on the screen. The boilerplate of the feed even had a three-paragraph content to further give the illusion that everything was legit.
Of course, the said tweet is nowhere to be found on Musk’s official Twitter account during and after the event. The YouTube video and channel in question are no longer existing as of writing, too.
Where the QR Code Leads
Using the QR would direct people to the address muskevent.net, which gave people an option to either put their investment for the project in Bitcoin or Ethereum. The page is still up right now and in its background picture of the Tesla Cybertruck. So far, we have no idea whether or not anyone was duped into putting their money into it.
Plans for Mercedes-Tesla Partnership
As we all know, the two brands are currently head-to-head in the market with the Mercedes EQ range having an answer to just about every product offering that the American EV has. With the tight competition going on between the two, and with the three-pointed star marque being capable of holding its own against the giant EV and battery maker up to this point, a product collaboration between them is beyond the realm of reality at the moment.
There were some reports in 2019, however, that the former Daimler AG via its former CEO Dieter Zetsche held talks with Musk over possible cooperation in the electrification of the three-pointed star marque’s Sprinter vans. Prior to that, the two automakers have worked on several projects in the past, including the provision of lithium-ion battery packs for electric smart cars over a decade ago.
Tesla also supplied Mercedes with the electric motors utilized by the early electric versions of the A-Class and B-Class until 2014. All these were made possible due to Daimler’s $50 million stake in the EV maker in 2009, which it later sold for around $780 in 2014, eventually ending their limited partnership.
The scammer likely banked on the history of the two major players in the EV sector to arrive at a more believable story for unsuspecting victims. Likewise, Musk had been the darling of crypto enthusiasts over the years due to his strong show of support for them, particularly with Dogecoin, so the perp is probably expecting that the mere association of the famous billionaire in the narrative will lure a lot of people in the con.