Scammers uses Elon Musk Deepfake Video to scam crypto.

Over the weekend, a video of Elon Musk promoting a cryptocurrency scam called BitVex went viral online. It was a total fabrication, probably a deepfake scam.

A deepfake is a type of video that is becoming more common. It is made by using artificial intelligence to make images of fake events. In this case, the deepfake makes it look like the world’s richest man is saying something he isn’t. The scam was put out by a fake trading platform called BitVex.

screenshot of deep faked elon musk video

The Deepfake scam Video

In the poorly made but likely still convincing video, Musk talks about an interview he had with TED head Chris Anderson in April. The video syncs the lips of each person to a script read by a voice that sounds a bit like Musks. The fake  Musk says that BitVex is a project he made to get more people to use Bitcoin. He promises that anyone who deposits crypto will get 30% back every day for three months. Fake Anderson adds that they’ve tried it themselves and promised that it would work for other people, too.

Musk’s reaction to the Deepfake scam video

But this video isn’t compelling because Musk’s voice sounds robotic, and it’s hard to understand what he is saying. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX was quick to post on Twitter that the video was fake. “Yikes. Definitely not me,” he said on Twitter.

One of the people who started Dogecoin, Billy Markus, also said how bad the deepfake was. “Anyone who is stupid enough to invest in that deserves to lose their money, but the scammers deserve to spend the rest of their lives in jail,” he said.

“Like, anyone who watches that and thinks it’s real would lose their money on anything,” he quipped.

“Like, anyone who watches that and thinks it’s real would lose their money on anything,” he quipped.

So now, What is BitVex?

BitVex, which is a fake trading platform, was clearly behind the scam. At the time of writing, several BitVex URLs were not working. On a cached version of the BitVex website, the project not only says that Musk is its CEO but also has glowing endorsements from him, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood. After making an account and logging in, you’ll see a screen where you can see metrics on a dashboard, deposit crypto and investment plans, withdraw your funds, and read the terms of service. The problem is that none of this is real. 

BeepingComputer said that the list of recent withdrawals that supposedly other users have made on the dashboard is generated randomly and changes every time the page is refreshed while it is live. This is the main sign that the site is a hoax. Google Chrome says that phishing attempts have been found on the URL and labels it as a “deceptive” website.

Even so, the scam doesn’t seem to be working very well. BeepingComputer found a few wallet addresses connected to the website that had only received $1,700 in deposits. However, they pointed out that the scammers could be using more than one address and stealing much more cryptocurrency over time.

Is Deepfake easy to make?

Deepfake videos are getting more accessible and easier to make with apps and tools like Overdub, which boasts that it can “make celebrities say anything you want” by making “realistic lip-sync videos” and has an image of Musk on its site. As just one example, a TikTok account called “pretendtobeanyone” has many deepfakes of celebrities saying things that are either pretty normal or clearly not true. The first video on the account is an Overdub deepfake of an actual Musk interview with Joe Rogan. The second video is a deepfake of Musk saying he made Overdub in front of Overdub’s advertising page background.

But crypto scams have not only used famous people to get people to send them tokens. Bloomberg reported on Thursday that scammers are also taking over accounts to pretend to be journalists and NFT projects, the latter of which is a very profitable business. When Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club, had a bad launch for its land NFTs that would be used in its upcoming “metaverse” game, several scammers pretended to be part of the company and made millions of dollars.


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