Scammers are taking advantage of new deepfake technology
to create videos so convincing that people will hand over their money.
This latest con looks like business magnate Elon Musk endorsing an
investment plan, but the video is fake, and the investment is a scam.
How the scam works
You come across a video of Elon Musk while scrolling through social
media. Or perhaps a trusted friend sent you the video. In it, Elon Musk
talks about ways to invest in cryptocurrency and how you can make a
large amount of money in no time. This sounds like a get-rich-quick
scheme, but the video looks so real! Musk is a famous business leader,
so his advice must be credible, right?
Think again! The video is a fake. Scammers used deepfake technology
to create it from existing footage of Musk. If you follow the links and
“invest,” you’ll lose everything.
One consumer who lost all of his Bitcoin to this scam described the
video he saw: “The spoofed video is an apparent live feed with many
viewers and likes, and looks like a legit web broadcast… During the
video, there are constant references by the participants to coin
giveaways. It makes you believe that it is very real and a limited-time
Also, watch out for more scams using similar deepfake videos. One victim reported to BBB Scam Tracker
a similar scam targeting Canadians. In this video, Musk offered “poor
families a chance to become rich in a few months” by instantly turning
an initial $250 CAD deposit into $6,000 CAD.
How to spot viral video scams
- Understand how deepfake technology works. Deepfake
technology takes video clips and photos of a person and uses the imagery
to create new videos and audio clips. See this BBB article for tips on spotting deepfakes.
- Know that celebrities are often impersonated.
Politicians, actors, business leaders, and other celebrities are often
“recreated” in deepfakes. That’s because plenty of public video clips
and photos of them are available. Don’t assume a celebrity video is
legitimate unless you can verify it came from an official source.
- Don’t “act immediately.” Most scams involve an
element of urgency. Claims that you can get rich quickly, but only if
you act now, are a red flag. Never give in to pressure to invest, wire
funds, or give up your personal information to receive a gift, money, or
an investment opportunity.
- Don’t believe everything you see on social media. Never make financial decisions based on viral videos on social media. Before investing in something or donating to a charity, do plenty of research to ensure you do so through a legitimate channel.
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