The popular video-sharing platform, TikTok, has been overwhelmed by a torrent of deceptive cryptocurrency giveaways. These fraudulent videos are, in most instances, mimicking themes associated with Elon Musk, Tesla, or SpaceX.
In the past, malevolent individuals have crafted such bogus cryptocurrency giveaways on other platforms like Instagram and Twitter. The modus operandi typically involves masquerading as high-profile celebrities, renowned cryptocurrency platforms, or more frequently, mimicking figures like Elon Musk and entities like SpaceX.
These deceitful individuals orchestrate numerous web platforms that masquerade as crypto exchanges or platforms offering free cryptocurrency giveaways. Users are lured into creating accounts with the promise of complimentary digital currency. Predictably, these so-called giveaways are ploys to pilfer any deposited crypto assets, leaving the users empty-handed.
While it might seem evident to many that these are scams, many have fallen prey. These deceitful schemes have amassed millions in cryptocurrency by duping naive social media enthusiasts.
Owing to TikTok’s soaring popularity, the platform is witnessing a deluge of these counterfeit cryptocurrency giveaways.
These scam videos are uploaded regularly, some of which deploy deepfake technology to depict Elon Musk in purported interviews with major media outlets like Fox News, endorsing a counterfeit cryptocurrency giveaway.
While some videos are rather crudely made, demonstrating the process to access a particular website and avail free Bitcoin through promo codes, others are more deceptive. These videos often promote domains with names resembling popular platforms, such as bitoxies[.]com or cratopex[.]com.
For participation, users are instructed to set up an account and use a promotional code as directed in the TikTok video. On doing so, these fraudulent websites feign a Bitcoin deposit into the user’s digital wallet. For instance, one scam site feigned a deposit of .34 Bitcoin, equivalent to around $9,000.
However, to access this “free” Bitcoin, users are required to first fund their account with .005 Bitcoins, approximately $132. But users never see a return on this deposit, and thus, the scammers’ profit. Additionally, users might be asked to input personal identification details, which scammers could exploit to compromise genuine crypto accounts.
Such scams show no signs of abating, given their lucrative nature. They remain a persistent challenge for social media platforms.
The rising profitability and frequency of these scams have caught the attention of authorities. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently alerted the public about losses amounting to $80 million linked to cryptocurrency investment scams since October 2020. Similarly, the Better Business Bureau has recently flagged concerns about the prevalence of crypto scams on TikTok.
It’s vital to acknowledge the likelihood of scams, especially those associated with renowned figures and entities promising exorbitant returns. Emails, videos, or other promotions endorsing these giveaways are, in all likelihood, deceitful endeavors. It’s crucial to remember that any crypto assets sent in response to such promotions will inevitably be misappropriated.