Deep-Fake Andre Cronje Imposter Defrauded Crypto Startup
Frauds related to cryptocurrencies have been very common since the inception of Bitcoin. From petty scams to hundreds of million-dollar hacks, this industry has seen all. But, now fraudsters are bringing more sophisticated tools to trap even the tech experts.
In a blog post published last week, the Blackswan token team has revealed that they fell victim to a scam, resulting in the siphoning of $30,000 worth of tokens.
Though the amount does not look too big compared to the massive exchange hacks, the scary part is the fraudsters used deep-fake videos, impersonating Andre Cronje, the well-known creator of yearn.finance.
The fraudsters first approached the Blackswan team on Linkedin and Telegram, offering a potential partnership between Yearn Finance and the Fantom Opera network. They even received IM contacts of Cronje over an email that was received from ‘email@example.com’.
“The first red flag can be seen when we suggested the call be held on Google Meets, however “Andre” insisted it would be on Zoom. While we do not have any screenshots during the call, ‘Andre’s’ face cam was on and we suspect the setting to be almost exactly the same [as publicly available video of him],” the Blackswan team stated.
“The ‘Andre’ on the call looked exactly the same, sounded the same, and in hindsight was the same. We believe this was a deep-fake video call with Andre and some form of voice changer to impersonate him.”
The Balckswan team was also overwhelmed to receive a partnership deal from Yearn Finance. They even received a working document and an agreement contract to seal the deal.
However, they raised the flag before sending over the requested SWAM tokens necessary for the bridge between the two projects when multiple Yearn Finance team members denied any knowledge about the partnership and Cronje’s new initiative.
At this point, the impersonator sent a fake copy of his passport to the Balckswan team to verify his identity.
“We were willing to look past the red flags, as we believed the benefit we would potentially receive by going through with this deal would be a defining moment in the project’s long-term success,” the team wrote.
However, the cover was blown as the fraudster dumped all the SWAM tokens received from the Blackswan team on the market.
“After seeing the tokens being dumped on the market, in hindsight, there is no legitimate evidence connecting what occurred to Andre or the Yearn finance team,” the blog post added.