The Rise of Deepfake Scam: How a Company Lost $25.6 Million to a Clever CEO Impersonation

Deepfake Scam

A deepfake scam video conference call involving a digitally recreated avatar of the chief financial officer (CFO) has cost a multinational company $25.6 million.

In a video call where everyone appeared real, scammers created digitally-altered versions of the company’s CFO and others.

There was no real person present on the video calls except for the victim, according to South China Morning Post.

Using deepfake technology, the scammers transformed publicly available video and other footage into convincing versions of meeting attendees.

In this case, scammers used deepfakes to deceive financial institutions for the first time.

Acting senior superintendent Chan Shun-ching said, “This time, in a multi-person video conference, everyone you see is fake.”

The company employees in the call looked and sounded like real people the targeted employee knew.

According to instructions given during the meeting, 15 transfers totaling HK$200 million (25.6 million) were made to five Hong Kong bank accounts.

Chan said they used deepfake technology to mimic the voice of their targets.

Following the spread of explicit, digitally-altered images of Taylor Swift, Elon Musk-run X blocked searches for her name for several days following the spread of fake pornographic images.

Deepfake scam: what is it?

The term “deepfake” refers to multimedia content (image or video) in which a person’s face or body is altered so that it appears to be someone else.

An anonymous Reddit user in 2017 started populating such videos into a playlist titled Deepfake, after which such content has been labeled as synthetic media since 2014.

Also, deepfake technology is being misused to malign high-profile people such as politicians, movie actors, and others just before elections or shows so that the victim loses popularity and is deprived of future opportunities.

List of major Deepfake Scams in 2023:

There was a viral video on X (formerly Twitter) of what appeared to be popular actress Rashmika Mandanna entering an elevator in sportswear. A lot of debate erupted on social media platforms; some criticised the outfit as outrageous, while others defended it.

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered applications, miscreants morphed Mandanna’s face onto Zara Patel, a British-Indian influencer with over 415K followers.

As a result of the misuse of technology to defame women, Mandanna expressed deep shock and hurt and urged the police to act immediately.

Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan sought legal action against the perpetrator after this episode raised a lot of concerns about user privacy online.

Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics & Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “Deepfakes are the latest and most dangerous form of misinformation.

In spite of this, the deepfake video continues to circulate on social media.

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Editorial Director
I'm Shruti Mishra, Editorial Director @Newsblare Media, growing up in the bustling city of New Delhi, I was always fascinated by the power of words. This love for words and storytelling led me to pursue a career in journalism. In this position, I oversee the editorial team and plan out content strategies for our digital news platform. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage readers with thought-provoking and impactful stories.

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