A new high-end cryptocurrency scam uses AI-powered deepfakes to swindle victims out of their money.
For a crypto startup, getting their tokens listed on the global hub Binance is usually one of their primary initial goals, giving them much-needed legitimacy as well as exposure to a large number of cryptocurrency traders and holders. This in turn usually leads to an increase in the token price and consequently gives the project even more legitimacy and exposure to an even larger audience.
But getting listed on Binance is not an easy task, as the company is very careful who it chooses (due to the fact, among other things, that it is not allowed to list securities), so the process is sometimes lengthy and quite tedious . But more importantly – it costs money.
A scammer (or group) aware of the process went on the hunt for such projects. Using artificial intelligence, they created a deepfake of Binance’s Chief Communications Officer (CCO), Patrick Hillman, and used it in multiple video calls with potential listing candidates, all with the aim of making them pay to be “listed.”
“It turns out that a sophisticated hacking team used previous news interviews and television appearances over the years to create a ‘deep fake’ of me,” Hillman said in a Binance blog post (opens in new tab). “Aside from being noticeably absent from the 15 pounds I gained during COVID, this deep fake was sophisticated enough to fool several highly intelligent members of the crypto community.”
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Hillmann discovered identity theft (opens in new tab) Scheme after one of the victims thanked him for all his help in starting the project. As it turns out, Hillmann isn’t involved in the listing process at all.
He did not say which projects were cheated or how much money was lost. Finally, Binance doesn’t have a fixed fee for these things, instead going for any number the project is happy with. “Show your willingness to contribute to social impact,” says the company.
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