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Editor's note: This article has been updated on July 6, 2023, at 4 am EST to reflect that reports of a criminal investigation into two Canadian teenagers were false.
Authorities in Hamilton, Ontario issued a brief statement on July 5 indicating that recent reports of an investigation into two Canadian teens "did not occur."
A spoofed email from an alleged representative from the Hamilton Police first contacted news outlets reporting the fake crime.
"Hamilton Police can confirm this investigation did not occur and the email did not originate from the Hamilton Police Service," it reads.
The story, first published and now updated by CBC Hamilton, indicated the two allegedly defrauded a U.S. man of $4.2 million in and in a scam known as a “spear phishing” attack.
It also indicated that the Hamilton Police were engaged in a joint investigation with the FBI and the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force.
"The Hamilton Police are investigating into the email source that created and sent out this information," reads authorities' statement. "Impersonating a police officer is a criminal offense."
Fakes and spoofs in crypto
From Twitter bots to AI-generated CEOs, crypto scammers have been hard at work duping users.
In 2020, authorities arrested Graham Clark of Tampa Florida for executing one of the largest hacks on Twitter that Summer. The attack targeted various high-profile accounts, including Joe Biden, Uber's company account, and Kim Kardashian. Each began spewing a common Bitcoin scam in which users that donated crypto to an address would earn double the amount.
This year NatWest, a large British bank, issued a report revealing how much money its clients had lost to fake celebrity ads that promoted a crypto scheme. A spoofed Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon, took the cake, luring in one victim to the tune of nearly $200,000.
Artificial intelligence is also playing a key role in crypto scams. The California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation issued a slew of cease and desist letters to five different companies making false promises to investors.
One firm, Maxpread Technologies, is alleged to have “attempted to trick investors about the identity of the CEO using a fake, AI-generated avatar programmed to recite a script.”