PM of Singapore Alerts Residents to Deepfake Crypto Scam Using His Image


Source: Pixabay / David Mark

Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore, has warned his social media followers regarding the use of deepfake videos that use his voice and image to promote cryptocurrency scams. 

In posts made across various platforms including X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, and Facebook, Loong urged his followers to exercise caution and not fall for scammers who employ artificial intelligence (AI) technology to create convincing deepfakes, falsely claiming that the prime minister guarantees investment returns and crypto giveaways. 

Loong even shared an example video of himself being interviewed, which was created by scammers to endorse a fraudulent “hands-free crypto trading” scheme.

“The use of deepfake technology to spread disinformation will continue to grow,” said Loong.

“We must remain vigilant and learn to protect ourselves and our loved ones against such scams.”

This is not the first time that Loong has been targeted by scammers. 

In 2021, he cautioned Singaporeans to remain vigilant when dealing with cryptocurrency platforms, as someone had set up a profile on BitClout to sell tokens using fake social media accounts. 

Additionally, Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong faced inquiries from lawmakers following the collapse of FTX in 2022.

Scammers have been employing various methods to deceive individuals and steal their fiat currency or tokens since the inception of cryptocurrencies. 

In 2020, hackers compromised the accounts of prominent Twitter users, including former United States President Barack Obama and President-elect Joe Biden, to promote a Bitcoin scam.

$2 Billion Stolen in 2023

Despite losing around $2 billion to crypto thefts, 2023 saw a slight decline in hacking incidents targeting the cryptocurrency industry. 

According to a recent report from De.FI, a prominent web3 security firm known for its REKT database, hackers managed to pilfer $2 billion in digital assets throughout the year.

While that amount is still alarming, it marks the first decrease in crypto hacking incidents since 2021. 

The REKT database ranks the most devastating crypto hacks, ranging from the historic breach of the Ronin network in 2022, where hackers looted over $600 million in crypto, to the recent attack on Mixin Network, resulting in a haul of approximately $200 million.

“This cumulative amount of stolen funds, spread across multiple incidents, highlights the ongoing vulnerabilities and challenges within the DeFi ecosystem,” stated De.FI in its report.

“2023 served as a testament to both the persisting vulnerabilities and the progress made in addressing them, despite muted interest in the space during the first half of the year due to the ongoing bear market.”

Among the notable crypto thefts of the year, Euler Finance suffered a devastating hack resulting in losses of nearly $200 million. 

Other major breaches targeted Multichain ($126 million), BonqDAO ($120 million), Poloniex ($114 million), and Atomic Wallet ($100 million), among countless others.

In 2022, Chainalysis, a blockchain monitoring firm, reported an all-time high of $3.8 billion stolen by cybercriminals in the crypto realm.