Data Breach News

Fake Trump Channel Promoted Crypto Scam During Presidential Debate

The channel played an AI-generated video on repeat where Trump touts the benefits of cryptocurrency and promotion if elected.

by Alan J June 28, 2024

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A convincing live stream featuring a seemingly-legitimate Donald Trump YouTube channel quickly gained massive traction before the U.S. Presidential debate Thursday, reaching nearly half the number of subscribers as the official Donald Trump YouTube channel before it was taken down.

The channel and Trump deepfake urged viewers to donate in cryptocurrency, with promises of substantial rewards in exchange. The video was titled with keywords related to the official Presidential debate between Trump and Biden while sharing a fake promotional website and QR code for donations through Bitcoin, Ethereum, Doge and Tether cryptocurrencies.

Fake Trump Cryptocurrency Promotion Scam Streamed Ahead of Presidential Debate

The timing of the fake live stream coincided with the scheduled debate this week between current U.S. President Joe Biden and former President and challenger Donald J. Trump. Scammers behind the campaign appeared to be taking advantage of actual statements made by Trump supporting cryptocurrency in the past, coupled with a repeated AI-generated video where he sits alongside popular YouTuber Logan Paul to speak about promoting cryptocurrency within the United States if elected.

Screenshot taken from the livestream.

The fake video appears to stem from an edit of a podcast video where Trump joined the YouTuber to speak on various issues, including the election, U.S. politics, his personal life and his opponent. The edited fake video shared a QR code and website (donaldtrump[.]gives) where viewers could be tricked into making donations.

The website incorporates official Trump campaign branding for the 2024 presidential election, sharing instructions for participation in the “unique event,” a multiplier to lure visitors with calculations on how much cryptocurrency they would receive in return for their donation, and a “live” feed of ongoing donations made to the shared cryptocurrency addresses.

Cryptocurrency addresses involved with the scam

“During this unique event, you have the opportunity to take a share of 2,000 BTC & 50,000 ETH & 500,000,000 DOGE & 50,000,000 USDT. Have a look at the rules and don’t miss out on this. You can only participate once!” the scam website stated.

According to details from a WhoIs lookup, the website appears to have been registered on June 27th, the same day as the Presidential debate, using a Russian registrant.

YouTube Channel Connected To Scam Taken Down

The YouTube channel behind this promotion was taken down shortly after a report to YouTube, but the website promoted during the stream still appears to be up and running. The channel was noted to have about 1.38 million subscribers before its takedown, nearly half the subscriber count (2.9 million) for the official Donald J Trump YouTube channel.

Email confirmation of Channel takedown

It is unknown if the live transaction feed featured on the scam website reflects actual real-time transactions. The full extent and the victim count from this cryptocurrency scam is unknown; details of the campaign have been sent to CRIL (Cyble Research and Intelligence Labs) researchers for further investigation.

Screenshot of alleged transactions

The campaign highlights the threat of Artificial Intelligence content to election-related processes, legitimate campaign donations and impersonation of candidates or well-known figures. In a recent incident, crypto scammers had taken over the YouTube channel of Channel 7 News Australia to use a deepfake Elon Musk to promote dubious crypto investments.

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