An impressive Elon Musk deepfake has come. And it's scamming crypto holders

Who you gonna call?
Ameya Paleja
The photo credit line may appear like thisAlamy

An Elon Musk deepfake video is doing the rounds on the internet again, hoping to trap crypto holders in a 'get-rich-quick' scheme and then steal their deposits, Bleeping Computer reported

A deepfake is media content created using tools such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to replace a person in an image or video with a fake one. The content can then be changed to pass false and misleading information. A deepfake of Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelensky emerged during the early days of the Russian invasion, asking Ukrainians to lay down their arms. 

Deep fakes and cryptocurrency scams

While this is an extreme usage case, deepfakes have also been used for other purposes, such as conducting financial frauds. In 2020, a bank in Dubai became poorer by $35 million after a manager allegedly received a deepfake voice call from one of the directors. The heist was pulled off by supplementing the voice call with some fake emails as well. 

If a seasoned bank employee can be spoofed by this technology, an unsuspecting investor is not a big fish to fry. Scammers often use celebrities to create maximum impact and trick people into committing to a transaction that can't be reversed. Last year, a scam used Elon Musk's Twitter account fake to pocket $580,000 worth of crypto coins in just one week.  

How is the latest scam being played out? 

For the latest iteration, scammers are circulating deepfake videos of Elon Musk suggesting users deposit their crypto coins on a website to generate up to 30 percent returns.  

The website is called Bitvex, and in the deepfake video, Musk is seen saying that he has invested his $50 million on the platform. The website even goes on to claim that Musk is the CEO at the organization and uses his Twitter display picture to make it look more legitimate.

Not just Musk, the website also cites faked endorsements from Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance as well as Cathie Wood, the CEO of Ark Invest, an investment firm with over $50 billion in assets under its management. The website also uses deepfake videos of other cryptocurrency enthusiasts to drive traffic to their website. 

Users arriving at the website need to create an account to gain from Bitvex's alleged claims. Once an account is set up, users see a dashboard that shows recent withdrawals made by other users on the platform. Bleeping Computer accessed the website's code and found that a JavaScript, running on the site, was assigned to randomly create these numbers every time the page refreshed. 

Ardent followers of Elon Musk might find it easy to spot that something's amiss with the Tesla CEO in the video. However, if you are not one of the followers, you do not have to be an expert at identifying deepfakes to avoid this scam.

If you have come across one of these videos on YouTube, it is likely that the channel's previous content is not related to cryptocurrencies at all. Bleeping Computer reported that many YouTube accounts were hacked to promote these videos. 

Luckily, not a lot of people have fallen for this scam with only $1,700 worth of crypto coins deposited so far. But if you come across an offer that feels too good to be true, chances are high that it is not. So do stay away. Crypto or not.  

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