Patrick Hillmann, Chief Communications Officer at Binance, published a blog post that cautions against online scammers who target the crypto community using a deep fake of him.
Some months ago he started to receive messages thanking him for meeting them and for his assistance in preparing for listing certain assets on the exchange, which he couldn’t recall, not to mention that he is in no way involved in listing processes of the exchange.
According to him, an AI hologram was based on his numerous news and TV appearances and was accurate enough to convince an interlocutor of the ‘realness’ of Patrick Hillmann (missing out the 15 pounds he gained during lockdown, as he points out).
The scheme was as old as time: when a crypto project team wants to get listed on Binance exchange, scammers promise to assist with that, but then the startup should pay some money up front. Patrick Hillmann compares this fraud to a good old Nigerian Prince letter that was passing around the web at the dawn of the Internet: it asked for some cash help or your bank account number to transfer the money for safekeeping in return for future multiple payments.
The CCO strongly encourages crypto users to be vigilant in defending their digital assets from scams and impersonations, double-checking all inboxes and using additional tools that help to recognize a fraudster. Basically, these are the rules that all internet (let alone crypto) users should be aware of, like don’t open links from suspicious emails, etc.
Such a rapid development of ‘deep fake’ technology might scare and produce a feeling that internet users are defenceless against scams like this. However, scammers have existed since time immemorial and we now have a legally competent public to verify written documents; we know the red flags that indicate a fishing email; we have learned to speak to our banks over the phone and to authenticate our identity. It is just a matter of time when we figure out how to deal with with AI holograms.