Crypto Thieves Steal Millions By Replaying Elon Musk And Jack Dorsey Investment Videos

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Cryptocurrency scams are quite common these days, likely due, at least in part, to the perception that cryptocurrency is an easily accessible investment vehicle. Just last week, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it is almost doubling the size of its Crypto Assests and Cyber Unit in the hopes of protecting cryptocurrency investors from scams and other nefarious schemes. Those looking to get rich quick should be aware that currency doubling schemes are simply too good to be true.

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A scam version of an old Ark Invest panel discussion

McAfee recently documented the prevalence of these sorts of scams on YouTube, where bad actors are livestreaming edited versions of an old Ark Invest panel discussion. The original event, titled “The ₿ Word,” features Cathie Wood, the CEO of Ark Invest, as well as Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey. These edited videos trade on Musk’s name recognition with titles like, “Elon Musk - Bitcoin And Ethereum Merge INCOMING!! ETH/BTC Predictions & Analysis! Crypto News.” The videos feature the original panel discussion surrounded by information regarding fake cryptocurrency events.

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A compromised YouTube channel hosting a scam video

The livestreams are hosted on YouTube channels impersonating Tesla, Twitter, Elon Musk, and Ark Invest. Cryptocurrency scammers in the past have been known to compromise YouTube channels with decently sized followings and use them to host scam videos, and this recent wave of scammers seems no different. With a quick search for “elon musk bitcoin and ethereum news” we were able to find a great many of these scam livestreams, and one of the first results appears to be hosted on a compromised gaming channel.

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A cryptocurrency scam website

The livestreams direct viewers to visit various websites advertising fake cryptocurrency giveaways. The websites instruct users to send Bitcoin or Ethereum to certain wallet addresses, promising that the cryptocurrency will be returned in double. McAfee initially identified 11 of these scam websites and used blockchain explorers to view the transactions associated with the wallet addresses listed on these sites. McAfee found that the wallets had received a total of $280,000. Over the course of the next day, McAfee discovered 15 more of these websites and found that the total value of cryptocurrency held in wallets associated with all 26 malicious websites amounted to $1.3 million.

Three weeks ago, Ark Invest pinned the following comment in the comment section of the original panel discussion video: “ARK is aware of hacked third-party YouTube channels fraudulently posing as ARK &/or Cathie Wood. These accounts are impersonators & not affiliated with ARK Invest or Cathie Wood in any way. ARK Invest will never use YouTube or other social media to solicit money, including cryptocurrency. Please report any account claiming otherwise! This channel is the only ARK Invest YouTube channel. For more information, please view our "What Types of Scams Impersonate ARK Invest and Cathie Wood?" section on our FAQ page here: