A school principal in Florida has resigned after sending a check for $100,000 to a scam artist posing as Elon Musk, according to a new report from NBC TV affiliate WESH. The school’s business manager was able to stop the check before it cleared.
“I am a very smart lady, well educated. I fell for a scam,” former principal Dr. Jan McGee told a crowd at the school, according to video posted online by WESH.
McGee, who was head of the Burns Science and Technology charter school in Oak Hill, was convinced she was talking to the real Elon Musk for about four months before she reportedly sent an unknown scam artist a check.
McGee says she was “groomed” by the scam artist, though falling for a scam isn’t typically how that word is used. Staff at the school reportedly told McGee it must be a scam, but she didn’t believe them and insisted Musk had an interest in helping the school.
It’s not immediately clear how the swindler first made contact with McGee, but there are countless scams online where people pose as Elon Musk, including on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I even received complaints through a Freedom of Information Act request to the FTC outlining many of the scams people were duped by from hucksters posing as the billionaire.
Twitter is also full of crypto scams using Musk’s face without permission—some of which promise to connect you with the Twitter CEO over WhatsApp if you buy their crypto. These paid ads are still running constantly and Twitter hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment about why they’re allowed on the platform.
McGee only had authorization to write checks for $50,000 without approval from the school board, according to WESH, when she wrote the check for $100,000 to someone she believed was affiliated with Musk.
“Somehow she believed it. I mean, he must’ve been really convincing,” school board chairman Albert Amalfitano told WESH in a video interview.
“Matching funds with this guy… and he was supposed to give like $6 million to the school,” Amalfitano continued.
The Burns Science and Technology school didn’t immediately respond to questions emailed Thursday afternoon. I’ll update this article if I hear back.