Tesla payment system hack costs buyers big

EV automaker’s payment method leaves buyers reeling as criminals swoop in and take their cash

Tesla Model 3 49 Wide 1 Jpg

Two Tesla buyers in Australia claim to have lost tens of thousands of dollars each to criminals because the car company has an unsecured payment method. 

According to ABC, the American EV automaker has been asking clients to pay for its vehicles via unprotected email invoices. 

In one instance, Andrea Hammond from Western Australia, who had paid a deposit online for a Tesla Model 3, was emailed an invoice by Tesla which required her to make a final payment of $74,647.62. 

What Ms Hammond claims she didn’t know is that the email had been intercepted by hackers, who had altered the payment details in the invoice. 

As a result, Ms Hammond alleges she unknowingly transferred the entire five-figure sum to a criminal’s fraudulent bank account. 

"I absolutely cannot understand why Tesla don't do the invoicing in the payment system through a secure website," Ms Hammond told the ABC.

"Instead, I was sent an unsecured, editable invoice that anybody could get into and change the numbers, so the hackers didn't have to create a new invoice.

"It was just too easy."

In another alleged case, a Sydney businessman, who only wished to be identified as Ron, says he was contacted by Tesla back in 2019 with news that his Model 3 had arrived in the country, and payment was required. 

Ron claims he was emailed an invoice, which was hacked, and subsequently he unwittingly paid $77,800 to a criminal. 

"I should have checked the bank account details on the invoice by telephoning Tesla directly, but there was no phone number readily available to ring or to contact them," he said.

"They wanted payment quickly because the vehicle had become available, so I paid the invoice."

Ms Hammond and Ron both say they contacted the banks to try and do anything they could to retrieve their lost thousands. While Ron managed to recoup $17,800, the rest of the pair's money was gone. 

It is unclear whether or not Tesla has changed its payment methods since these issues occurred, however, the ABC reported that as late as December last year, the American firm was still requiring payment through the same system. 

WhichCar has contacted Tesla for comment.

Watch this space as WhichCar brings you updates on this developing story.

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