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More than 35 Fake Elon Musks at SpaceX Launch

On Thursday, YouTube was flooded with fake Elon Musk livestreams during SpaceX’s Starship rocket launch. Scammers used artificial intelligence to create deepfake versions of Musk. Their goal? To trick space enthusiasts and crypto fans. Over 35 YouTube channels streamed these fake videos, promising to double the cryptocurrency deposits of viewers.

Fake Elon Musk livestreams on YouTube during SpaceX’s Starship launch, with scammers promising cryptocurrency giveaways.
Source: https://spaceexplored.com/

Key Takeaways

  • Over 35 YouTube channels used deepfake Elon Musk videos during a SpaceX launch.
  • Scammers promised to double cryptocurrency deposits in fake giveaways.
  • Cybersecurity researchers highlighted the scam on June 6.
  • Fake streams have been taken down, but the scammers have shifted their focus.
  • Musk’s likeness is frequently used due to his known support for cryptocurrencies.
  • Similar scams have occurred globally, including a case in Hong Kong.
  • Vigilance is essential to avoid falling victim to these sophisticated scams.

The Scam Unfolds

The fake streams coincided with the fourth test launch of SpaceX’s reusable Starship rocket. The real event showed the rocket surviving re-entry and splashing down in the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, the fake streams, created by scammers, promised a crypto giveaway. Cybersecurity researchers at Avast Threat Labs highlighted this scam in a June 6 post on X (formerly Twitter)

The scammers used AI-generated voices that mimicked Musk’s speech patterns, including his stutters and pauses. One deepfake version of Musk assured viewers, “This is not a fake, this is a real giveaway. I guarantee it to you.”

A Deceptive Setup

Some YouTube channels pretended to be official SpaceX accounts. There was one channel running three simultaneous live streams, amassing 170,000 viewers. These viewers were likely bots, used to make the stream appear legitimate. The streams showed wide-angle footage of Musk speaking at a SpaceX event, with slightly blurred faces to avoid detection.

The fake Musk instructed viewers to send Bitcoin (BTC) or Ether (ETH) to a specific address, promising to return double the amount. He claimed, “You have a chance to see your crypto propel exponentially as our rocket propels toward the stars.” This was followed by a recording of an applauding crowd, adding to the scam’s illusion.

The Aftermath

It’s unclear how many people fell for the scam. There were nine Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin wallets, linked to three different scammers, with a combined balance of around $34,000. Many transactions occurred on June 6.

The fraudulent streams have been taken down, and the YouTube channel has since rebranded to mimic the Cardano Foundation. It now pushes the same scam using a deepfake of Cardano co-founder Charles Hoskinson.

Frequent Target: Elon Musk

Musk’s likeness is often used in crypto scams due to his well-known support for cryptocurrencies, especially Dogecoin. In April, security researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk discovered similar scams. Fake SpaceX YouTube accounts with AI-generated Musks promised a double-your-money offer during a solar eclipse in North America.

Global Impact

The issue of deepfake scams extends beyond YouTube. Last month, Hong Kong’s securities watchdog shut down a firm using deepfake videos of Musk. These videos were part of a scam claiming Musk had developed AI technology for a crypto trading service.


The rise of AI and deepfake technology has brought new challenges to online security. Scammers can now create highly convincing fake videos, making it harder for people to distinguish between real and fake. It’s crucial to stay vigilant, especially during high-profile events like SpaceX launches. Always verify the source of livestreams and be skeptical of too-good-to-be-true offers.

June 9, 2024 at 04:00 am

Updated June 9, 2024 at 04:00 am


Remember, investing in cryptocurrencies involves risks, and it’s important to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice before making any financial decisions. (Please keep in mind that this post is solely for informative purposes and should not be construed as financial or investment advice.)


Scammers used artificial intelligence to create deepfake versions of Elon Musk. They streamed these fake videos during the SpaceX launch, promising to double cryptocurrency deposits to trick viewers.

The goal of the fake livestreams was to trick space enthusiasts and crypto fans into sending their cryptocurrency to the scammers by promising to double their deposits.

The fake livestreams were highly convincing. Scammers used AI-generated voices that mimicked Musk's speech patterns and even used wide-angle footage of Musk speaking at SpaceX events with slightly blurred faces to avoid detection.

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