July 16, 2024

A deepfake SpaceX giveaway hoax is all over YouTube. Musk Elon

April 09, 2024
2Min Reads

On April 8, a plethora of fraudulent Space X giveaway scams surfaced on YouTube, masquerading as live feeds honoring the April 8 solar eclipse.

The research team Mysk first became aware of the scams when they noticed that a legitimate YouTube account was broadcasting a solar eclipse live. A deepfake video of SpaceX founder Elon Musk was purportedly displayed in the webcast, which went by the name "Live: Solar Eclipse Spectacular 2024 of SpaceX."

The phony Elon Musk could be heard in the video pleading with viewers to deposit cryptocurrency and scan a QR code on the screen to double their value. Users who scanned the QR code were taken to a website that accepted Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many other well-known cryptocurrencies and displayed the wallet addresses of the con artists.

When searching for "solar eclipse livestream," the live broadcast came up first, according to the study team.

Over 95,000 people watched the webcast at its busiest.

Over 164,000 people watched a another live feed named "2024 Total Solar Eclipse: Through the Eyers of SpaceX," which was discovered by X user Jason Paladino. The same cryptocurrency doubling hoax was advertised by the con artists in the live broadcast discussion using a phony Elon Musk YouTube account.

In the cryptocurrency industry, these giveaway schemes have been a hot topic of discussion for years. In a similar plan from the previous year, con artists managed to escape with $165,000 in cryptocurrency from unwary victims. Once more, the con artists were using YouTube live feeds to lure victims to their phony websites by scanning QR codes.

Scams don't just focus on posing as SpaceX or Elon Musk. These dishonest people have damaged the reputations of a number of well-known figures in the cryptocurrency space and beyond.

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, and seventeen other victims sued YouTube in 2020 to stop similar impersonation schemes that promoted phony Bitcoin giveaways.

Regretfully, YouTube is not the only place where these scams occur. Security experts at CertiK detected hackers posing as Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in February 2024. They were using a deepfake video to advertise a phishing website that drains wallets.

As was noted in a 2023 study, the social media site TikTok has also developed into a haven for these types of scams. Because of their strong ties to the cryptocurrency world, scammers frequently promoted cryptocurrency frauds under the pretense of well-known companies, most frequently Elon Musk and SpaceX.


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