Deepfake Video Call Scam Costs Company Millions

JJohn February 7, 2024 7:01 AM

A multinational company lost almost $26 million in a scam involving deepfakes, after an employee was deceived in a video call by artificial intelligence-generated impostors of his colleagues, including the CFO. The employee only realized the fraud when he contacted the head office a week later.

Employee duped by deepfake video call

In an elaborate online scam, an employee of a multinational firm in Hong Kong was duped into transferring approximately $26 million to con artists. The ruse involved a video call where the unwitting employee was the only human participant. The rest of the 'attendees' were artificially intelligent deepfakes impersonating his colleagues, including the company's CFO.

Deepfake creation using public media

The scammers demonstrated considerable audacity and technological prowess in their operations. Utilizing publicly accessible video and audio, they created uncannily accurate deepfake representations of the company's CFO and other employees. This lent an unsettling degree of authenticity to their scheme, enabling them to manipulate their victim with greater ease.

Scam revealed with head office contact

Despite the successful execution of the scam, the fraudsters' ruse did not remain undetected indefinitely. A week after the initial incident, the duped employee reached out to the company's head office. Upon doing so, he quickly became aware of the scam, triggering an immediate investigation.

Despite the scale of the scam and the ensuing police investigation, no arrests have yet been made. The case remains open, with authorities working diligently to track down the culprits and bring them to justice, while also taking steps to prevent similar scams in the future.

This deepfake scam occurs against a backdrop of increasing misuse of artificial intelligence technologies. There has been a notable uptick in the online distribution of nonconsensual pornographic imagery generated using similar AI techniques. This ongoing trend underscores the urgent need for more effective regulation and control of AI and deepfake technology.

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