Sam Bankman-Fried Deepfake Video Lures Victim to A Scam

Putri Alivia Rifaih . November 22, 2022

Picture: Getty Image

Techspace - As if the controversy surrounding the collapse of well-known cryptocurrency exchange FTX wasn't already terrible enough, con artists are now attempting to swindle consumers of even more crypto. A deepfake video on twitter posted just over the weekend impersonating the founder and the former CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried. The video shows Bankman-Fried offering assurance through a fake giveaway for users in an attempt to steal their funds. 

The twitter account who posted the video under the username S4GE_ETH was immediately suspended. Before the account was suspended, it had a blue checkmark which indicated a verified account and also went by the name “SBF” which stands for Sam Bankman-Fried. Not to mention the avatar also uses a picture of the FTX former CEO, Bankman-Fried. What used to indicate the authenticity of an account is now a $8-a-month status symbol that anybody can buy, under the new leader Elon Musk. 

“Hello everyone. As you know our FTX exchange is going bankrupt. But I hasten to inform all users that you should not panic. As compensation for the loss, we have prepared a giveaway for you, in which you can double your cryptocurrency. To do this, just go to the site,” said the deep fake version of Sam Bankman-Fried in the video.

Apparently, the deep fake video was in fact taken from an actual Bankman-Fried interview in the Bloomberg Markets and Finance interview in which new dialogue has been added by using deepfake techniques, where artificial intelligence (AI) makes realistic looking face motions to go along with the audio. The English speech is stilted and the voice is comparable to actual Bankman-Fried but more robotic in terms of tone.

Even Though the twitter account has been suspended, the website mentioned in the video is still live. It advertises a giveaway of up to $100 million worth of Bitcoin and Ethereum combined and includes a hazy image of Bankman-Fried. The website uses the same stilted English (for instance, "Instruction for participating") as the video does. As written on the site “Biggest Giveaway Crypto Of $100,000,000” for the headline. Following by “We sympathize with everyone who has been affected by our FTX exchange. We decided to run a 5,000 BTC & 50,000 ETH giveaway for all crypto holders!”

Read also: What is Ethereum?

Picture: Vice

The website urges users to participate in a giveaway fraud by connecting to their cryptocurrency wallets through the portal and transferring some money, with the promise that your cryptocurrency would be transferred back with a bonus. A warning: it won't. Crypto giveaways are a typical scam where the victim gives tokens to the con artist but receives nothing in return, frequently using fictitious celebrity accounts. However, the hoax website goes above and beyond in an effort to inspire trust in its credibility by using a ticker-style display to represent completed transactions.

According to Vice, even though the website shows displays of fake transactions to entice people sending their funds, the linked Bitcoin address receives no deposits. On the other hand, the Ethereum address does in fact have more than $1,000 in ETH. It may seem obvious now that these actions are indeed a scam, but some still fall to the scammers' well laid traps hence the amount of funds in ETH. 

The event serves as a reminder of the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, the shortcomings of Twitter's moderation and verification processes, and how convincing deepfakes are becoming. Fortunately, this scam appears to have done less damage so far.  While this serves as a reminder, avoid falling into one of the many traps that may be found in the digital world, since this case is one of the many cases that happens. 

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