One series of online scams that seemingly never ends is the false claim that Tesla CEO Elon Musk had involvement in the creation of an inexpensive "electricity-saving" device that's about the size of a plug-in night light.
StopWatt is one of many names of a cheap and constantly rebranded "electricity-saving box" product that scammers have misleadingly associated with Musk, Tesla (the company), and even Nikola Tesla himself. Pro Power Saver was one of the other rebranded product names, as we previously reported.
According to images of such products, the only words that appeared on the physical devices were, "Intelligent Energy Saver. Electricity-Saving Box. The Result Is the Best." That last bit about "the result is the best" appeared to be poorly-translated English.
Names like StopWatt and Pro Power Saver don't appear on the products, since the rebranding from "electricity-saving box" was apparently only a marketing tactic and had no bearing on the creation of the device.
Scams for these "electricity-saving boxes" usually begin with an online ad displayed on a website or in an email newsletter that claims the compact, inexpensive device can save homeowners 90% off of their utility bill. Those ads then lead to a scammy article that falsely claims Musk created StopWatt.
Just as we previously wrote about the Pro Power Saver scam, with StopWatt, we don't recommend trusting any claims that say homeowners will be able to save such an enormous percentage off of their electricity bills. If this was truly possible, it would be one of the most popular products around today. Always remember with online offers that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
As for the scammy article, it often bears the publisher name of Fox News. However, Fox News never published this story:
Reducing Electricity Bills by 90%! Elon Musk's Revolutionary Device Designed Personally for Middle-aged, Elderly, and Low-income Groups Faces Suppression by Power Giants, Facing Production Crisis?
Elon Musk, the genius CEO behind solar power giant Tesla has been the talk of the town lately. His most recent controversy is a genius electricity saving invention for those who can't afford fancy, expensive solar panels. The electric power companies are furious and want Elon's money saving invention banned before the American public can take full advantage of the savings.
He goes on to say "The big power companies are scamming you. Yes, that's right. Believe it or not, they have been using a secret to cheat you every time you run your lights, dishwasher, blender, vacuum and anything else that draws power. This is why your power bill is so expensive every month and keeps rising with some residents paying as much as $500 a month in electric bills. Every American can slash their electricity bill by 90% using this revolutionary technology. You're welcome, America."
This scam often features a picture of Musk holding one of the supposed "electricity-saving box" devices in his hand:
However, as readers can see at the top of this article, the photograph with Musk holding the device had been doctored. The original picture was available on the Getty Images website.
Continuing with the scam article, it went on to tell a sad story of a woman named "Dorothy Smith," purportedly a Tesla employee, who died of heat stroke in her home. According to the story, her death inspired Musk to create StopWatt:
But for Elon Musk, this was more than just an invention to fight back against the greedy electric companies. When tragedy struck the Tesla factory, he knew he had to take action. Dorothy Smith was a 64 year old Tesla employee who died of a heat stroke after falling behind on her electric bills and her service was shut off in the middle of a record breaking heat wave. Her youngest daughter came to check up on her after many unanswered phone calls and tragically found Dorothy lifeless on the couch with her husband.
Seeing just how devastating electricity prices are on the average American's wallet, and witnessing his own employee, Dorothy Smith pass away tragically, Elon Musk set out to find his old drawing plans for an electricity saver invention he had made as a young genius in South Africa. The original drawing was based on a concept by his idol, legendary inventor, electrical and mechanical engineer and visionary, Nikola Tesla.
After a few hours of digging through old papers, he found it! Elon immediately called one of his brightest engineers at Tesla and trusted friend, Ed Sherwood. Combining their expertise, they set out to bring Elon's electricity saving dream to life.
As we previously reported, none of this was true. Articles that claim Musk and Tesla created StopWatt are both fiction and scams. Further, there's no record of a Tesla employee named "Dorothy Smith" having died of heat stroke.