FTX Founder Deepfake Offers Refund to Victims in Verified Twitter Account Scam

A deepfake of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried circulated on Twitter on Friday, where the founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange appeared to claim he could make users whole again by doubling their cryptocurrency in a typical giveaway scam. Making matters worse, the account was verified and mimicked SBF’s real account.

“Hello everyone. As you know our FTX exchange is going bankrupt,” the deepfake of Bankman-Fried said in the video. “But I hasten to inform all users that you should not panic. As compensation for the loss we have prepared a giveaway for you in which you can double your cryptocurrency. To do this, just go to the site ftxcompensation.com”

Bankman-Fried is the self-styled altruistic genius in charge of the imploded cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The company is bankrupt, owes $3 billion to creditors, and has balance sheets so unreliable that experts have called the scandal worse than Enron. While FTX burns, its stakeholders are looking for some kind of compensation and that has opened the door for scammers.

On Friday, in a tweet viewed by Motherboard before the account was suspended by Twitter, user “s4g4_ETH” tweeted out a video that seemed to show Bankman-Fried offering to help people who’d been screwed by FTX. The account has a blue verified checkmark, Bankman-Fried’s Twitter handle “SBF” and his Twitter avatar. The scam appeared to take advantage of the fact that Twitter CEO Elon Musk is selling blue checks for $8, leading to a flood of parodies and scams backed by purchased credibility on the site.

The deepfake video directed people to a website where people could enter a giveaway to win crypto. Crypto giveaways are a common scam, often using fake celebrity accounts, where the victim sends tokens to the scammer but receives nothing in return. The site prominently features Bankman-Fried’s face and FTX’s logo and is registered to an individual in Nevis, an island near Puerto Rico. 

“Biggest giveaway crypto of $100,000,000,” the site says. “Send the desired number of coins to the special address below. Once we receive your translation, we will immediately send the requested amount back to you. You can only take part in our giveaway once. Hurry up!” 

The site shows a rolling list of fake transactions to entice victims to send crypto. The linked Bitcoin address has received no tokens, while the Ethereum address currently holds just over $1,000 in ETH. 

Needless to say, getting scammed on Twitter by a deepfake after already losing all your crypto on a collapsed exchange adds insult to injury.

VICE US