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  • Khushboo Pareek

Fake Musk videos hit YouTube with links to dubious crypto schemes

While people had their eyes peeled to the Sun for the total solar eclipse on Monday, several fake live streams masquerading as SpaceX channels featuring an AI-generated speech by Elon Musk hit YouTube.

The fake live streams on the Google-owned platform were aimed at deceiving viewers and steal cryptocurrency from unsuspecting targets.

According to Mashable, each such stream played on loop a pre-recorded video of Elon Musk purportedly addressing a crowd beside a SpaceX sign.

The video, however, was fake and showed Musk promoting a dubious cryptocurrency investment opportunity promising significant returns.

Overlaying the video is a QR code with the text "Eclipse of 2024 - Change your life," urging viewers to scan it. Upon scanning, users are directed to a website where they can invest their cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin or Ether, directly on the site.

Some streams even feature a fake Elon Musk account in the live chat, bombarding viewers with links to invest, adding a layer of deceit to the fraudulent scheme.

One of the fake SpaceX livestream read, "2024 Total Solar Eclipse: Through the Eyes of SpaceX" which garnered over 210,000 concurrent views at last count.

Another stream read, "Live: Solar Eclipse Spectacular 2024 of SpaceX."

Numerous such streams broadcast live for hours on Monday.

Mashable was alerted to these streams by a tip-off provided by the iOS developer and research group Mysk who posted on X.

Fake SpaceX and Elon Musk videos have become a common occurrence on YouTube, indicating their profitability for scammers.

A few years back, Steve Wozniak filed a lawsuit against YouTube over the the proliferation of similar videos impersonating the Apple co-founder to promote Bitcoin scams.

Scammers typically alter the channel name to SpaceX to appear as an official company account before broadcasting their fraudulent live streams. However, recent changes in channel names leave traces on the page, indicating the channel's previous identity.

Scammers often use stolen channels or accounts bought from social media black markets to impersonate Musk and SpaceX.

Photo Courtesy: Unsplash



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