$79.1 Billion Lost in Two Years to Deepfake Scams

Bitget Research’s recent report highlighted a dramatic rise in scams featuring deepfake technology. According to their data, malicious technology use jumped 245% in 2024 alone.

These scams, usually leveraging fake celebrity endorsements, have become increasingly sophisticated, targeting unsuspecting investors and causing significant financial damage.

Deepfake Scams Caused $79.1 Billion Loss

Deepfake technology, which manipulates photos and videos to create hyper-realistic fake content, has been weaponized to promote fraudulent schemes. According to the report, users have lost $79.1 billion to cyberattacks involving deepfakes since the beginning of 2022.

The losses are increasing each year, with a significant surge in 2024, where the amount more than doubled, rising by 245%. Bitget estimates that potential damage from deepfake scams could reach $10 billion per quarter by 2025. 

“Deepfakes are moving into the crypto sector in force and there is little we can do to stop them without proper education and awareness. The vigilance of the users and their ability to discern scams and fraud from real offerings is still the most effective line of defence against such crimes, until a comprehensive legal and cybersecurity framework is in place on a global scale,” said Gracy Chen, the CEO at Bitget, commenting on the figures outlined in the report.

Read more: Crypto Social Media Scams: How to Stay Safe

Experts have identified several key methods of using deepfakes in the crypto industry. These include:

Social Engineering. Fraudsters impersonate famous people or employees of large companies to trick users into transferring cryptocurrency to them.

Bots. Deepfakes create fake accounts on social media and other platforms, which then spread misinformation and advertise fraudulent crypto projects.

Market Manipulation. Scammers use deepfakes to spread false news and rumors that can influence market prices.

Investment Fraud. Attackers create videos and presentations with deepfakes to attract funds to fraudulent projects.

Among these methods, social engineering and bot fraud accounted for 14.21% of all deepfake crimes in the first quarter of 2024. Analysts estimate the losses from these methods at $2.03 billion. If authorities do not take effective measures, the number of incidents involving malicious technology in the crypto industry could increase by 70% by early 2026.

An Ongoing Trend

The rise in deepfake technology has coincided with the growing popularity of celebrity tokens. Over the past couple of months, dozens of new meme coins have been launched, featuring both real celebrities and impersonators behind them.

Tokens such as JENNER, ZUMI, RICH, DOLL, and others have sparked intense debate within the crypto community, raising concerns about market manipulation, fraud, and the ethical implications of leveraging celebrity influence in cryptocurrency promotions.

Well-known entrepreneurs are frequent targets of scammers. On June 23, a five-hour YouTube Live broadcast featuring a deepfake of Elon Musk promoted a cryptocurrency scam, continuing the trend of similar fraudulent streams.

A deepfake live stream of Elon Musk promoting a crypto giveaway scam is currently live on YouTube with around 30,000 viewers. It’s funny how YouTube isn’t doing anything about it. pic.twitter.com/xIfQVkdgM2

— sid (@immasiddtweets) June 23, 2024

The now-removed video claimed to show a live Tesla event, using an AI-generated version of Musk’s voice to lure viewers to a website. The fake Musk urged viewers to deposit Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), or Dogecoin (DOGE) for a supposed giveaway, promising to “automatically send back double the amount.”

The stream attracted over 30,000 viewers at its peak, though bot inflation cannot be ruled out. It topped YouTube’s Live Now recommendations. The channel, @elon.teslastream, had the Official Artist Channel verification badge, suggesting a possible account compromise.

Read more:  Crypto Scam Projects: How To Spot Fake Tokens

Cryptocurrency users should be extremely vigilant and not trust everything they see online, especially on social media platforms like X, Instagram, and others, which are the primary channels for spreading deepfakes. Experts urge everyone to verify information and use only reliable sources carefully. Additionally, using two-factor authentication (2FA) is crucial, especially for accounts related to crypto.

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