In April 2023, a rumor began to spread that claimed Twitter owner Elon Musk had revealed a new line of CBD gummies that could "reverse dementia." According to the story, Musk's gummy product sparked a "huge lawsuit" with Fox News.
However, none of this was true.
Musk was simply the latest famous person to have his image and likeness used by scammers without permission in an attempt to push miracle promises about CBD or keto gummies. He has nothing to do with any of these products.
While the answer here is a fairly simple "it's all fake," the massive reach of these gummy scams might surprise some readers.
Musk's 'New Business Announcement'
As of May 18, the scam was still making the rounds in at least one paid ad on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. The ad on a Facebook page named Aromathy read, "Media Backlash Over New Musk Business Announcement. Elon Has a Response. His New Business Venture Has Been Under Scrutiny By Media."
This post served as clickbait to take users to the scam.
The ad led to a fake article on aromasense.shop that was designed to fool readers into believing they were reading from the Fox News website.
Many of the Facebook users who commented on the ad believed that the post was a real news announcement. For example, one person commented, "MEDIA IS AGAINST ANYTHING THAT IS GOOD!! IGNORE THEM!" Some users also appeared to think that Musk made the post himself, with one person writing, "Don't pay attention to the media! So many are fake and bias! Be true to yourself! I trust you."
In other words, Fox News and Elon Musk may have been included together by scammers to target easily influenced users who have conservative political leanings and a distrust of mainstream news media.
'Elon Musk Reverses Dementia'
To create the fake Fox News article, scammers copied the logo and article layout from foxnews.com and replicated it on the aromasense.shop website. Scammers have been doing this design-replication process with the logos and designs of multiple publishers for years.
The article began with the headline, "Elon Musk reverses dementia, solution sparks huge lawsuit pressure on Fox, he finally fights back on air."
This scam article was never published by Fox News.
The body of the fictional story was a template that scammers had used many times before about various TV personalities who had their own shows. However, in this case, the article didn't really make sense to be used with Musk since he didn't have a show.
The fake article began as follows:
(Fox) - In an Exclusive Interview, Elon Musk, a business magnate and investor, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, Inc. and Twitter, Inc. reveals that the show will be ending after his latest business sparks tension with Martha MacCallum.
During a heated episode last week, Elon Musk made headlines after revealing his new CBD line on Live TV. Martha MacCallum was outraged saying she will be filing a lawsuit against Elon Musk and Fox for violating his contract and 'scaring-off' sponsors. Elon Musk responded with this:
"I know Martha is just coming after my timeslot. I am not giving in to 'Cancel Culture'. When I started this whole thing back in 2018, it really was just a part time passion project and a way for me to give back. After being given so much, I figured there was no better time to make Impact Garden CBD Gummies available to everyone, as it can help thousands of people experience life pain-free and live much happier lives."
His product, Impact Garden CBD Gummies, has been flying off the shelves within minutes and Elon Musk says his number one struggle as CEO is being able to keep up with demand. His CBD wellness line is 90% cheaper and five times more effective than those being offered by Bayer and other "Big Pharma" companies.
Marthan MacCallum was furious after seeing multiple sponsors sue Fox News Network. Martha is now calling for Elon Musk to be indicted, saying: "I am happy Elon Musk found something to replace prescriptions, but his announcement was a direct breach of contract. Fox News should sue him immediately and he should formally apologize."
Elon Musk eventually admitted that although Martha MacCallum is enraged, other Fox hosts has been supportive of him. Tucker Carlson even went on Live TV to say that: "Impact Garden CBD Gummies has completely changed my life and it's clear that MacCallum is attempting a Coup."
Again, this article was fictional. The story about Musk, CBD gummies that can "reverse dementia," Fox News, Martha MacCallum, and Tucker Carlson all never happened.
If You Were Scammed
For more information on CBD and keto gummies scams, we recommend a recent story about Ree Drummond, another celebrity whose image and likeness were also used by scammers to push these products.
If any readers were scammed and ordered any gummy products after being led to believe that Musk or other celebrities endorsed them, we recommend filing a report with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
We also advise readers to call their credit card company to dispute the charges. It may be a good idea to block future charges from the sellers in question or to get a new card number altogether, as many of these scams sign customers up to be charged subscription fees of hundreds of dollars per month.
Bear in mind that, while it is rare, scammers sometimes use the exact name or a similar name of a real CBD company without permission to push these sorts of scams. In those minority of cases, there's no evidence that the company had any involvement in the activity.
We've received word from users in recent months who said that they were being charged for these sorts of gummy products despite having no recollection of ordering them. Some people who left messages for our reporters even said that along with having no memory of ordering the products, they also had no charges on their credit card, yet still received the products at their doorstep.
It's possible that some of these apparently unauthorized purchases occurred in the aftermath of what's known as card skimming. The FBI has said of the practice, "Skimming occurs when devices illegally installed on ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, or fuel pumps capture data or record cardholders' PINs. Criminals use the data to create fake debit or credit cards and then steal from victims' accounts. It is estimated that skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year."
We are continuing to look into various aspects of these CBD and keto scams, including something associated with purported "fulfillment center" P.O. Box addresses in Smyrna, Tennessee, and Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as some activity apparently occurring in Tampa, Florida.