According to various reports, TikTok is being flooded with fake posts promoting cryptocurrency giveaways by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Several malicious videos containing deep fake interviews of Musk with media outlets have been circulating on the short-form video-sharing social media site.
Bad actors have been on the trick for years, where they create fake crypto giveaways on other platforms like Twitter and Instagram and pretend to be popular media figures, celebrities, or cryptocurrency exchanges to lure their victims into sending them funds.
Scammers Posting Deep Fake Elon Musk Videos To Conduct Crypto Investment Fraud
They target their victims by sending messages containing links to malicious websites that mimic prominent crypto exchanges. Then they prompt the user to register an account on the website and deposit a certain amount in a specified crypto to receive free Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH).
However, what happens is that the scammer simply gets away with the deposited funds, leaving users to suffer the losses for their mistake.
These scammers are incredibly successful with their antics, which have seen them steal millions of dollars in cryptocurrency from unsuspecting social media users in the past.
Tech news blog BleepingComputer decided to test out the TikTok giveaways themselves to find out how it works. What the team discovered was that almost all of these scammers use the same template to conduct operations, where they pretend to be a crypto investment platform.
How Does The Scam Work?
Due to its immense popularity, scammers and swindlers are flooding TikTok with fake crypto giveaways. The videos containing deep fakes of Elon Musk being interviewed by Fox News and other networks, promoting the scam, are being posted to the social media site on an hourly basis.
Some of these videos are said to be amateurish, simply explaining how to log into one of the listed websites and enter a promo code to receive free BTC.
Most of the videos provide links to websites that look slightly similar, such as “bitoxies.com”, “moonexio.com”, “altgetxio.com”, and “cratopex.com”, among others.
Users are first asked to register an account with the above-mentioned websites and enter a promo code shown in the TikTok video. Once the code is accepted, the website will display a message stating that it is preparing to deposit Bitcoin into the user’s crypto wallet.
BleepingComputer shared screenshots of one website that pretended to deposit 0.34 BTC, worth approximately $9,000, into their wallet. You must be thinking, “How do they get your Bitcoins then?”. This is where the scammers showcase their talent.
When a user attempts to withdraw the free Bitcoin, they will be asked to activate their account by depositing 0.005 BTC, worth approximately $132 at the current rate. As expected, the scammers won’t give you any free Bitcoin from the giveaway but instead flee with the crypto you deposit into their accounts.
What is even more concerning is that the bad actors even prompt you to enter KYC information, which can be used by them to get access to your accounts on legitimate cryptocurrency platforms like exchanges or wallets.
Social Media Users Have Lost $80 Million To Crypto Giveaway Scams Since 2020
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a report warning that over $80 million worth of crypto has been lost to cryptocurrency investment scams since October 2020. Just last week, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning about crypto scams taking place over TikTok.
In July, the decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Wombex Finance (WMX) shared details of an imposter who was promoting a free token giveaway on Threads (by Instagram), pretending to be associated with the company.
The crypto liquidity platform informed users that it has no account on the Threads app, which made it possible for scammers to operate a profile in its name. Wombex also warned customers not to send any funds or give personal information to the sites.