February 23, 2024
Finance

Finance worker is tricked into paying scammers £20million by deepfake video call using AI copies of his colleagues, including British-based boss


  • The man from Hong Kong was not the only employee targeted at the company 



A finance worker has been tricked into paying scammers £20million by a deepfake video call using AI copies of his colleagues, including his British-based boss.

The employee in Hong Kong first received an email supposedly from his chief financial officer (CFO) in the UK, which initially made him suspicious.

But he was convinced to send the money he was asked for – a total of £20.3million sent in 15 transactions from five bank accounts – after a video call with the deepfake of the CFO and other colleagues, whose likeness was recreated using AI technology. 

When the man contacted his company’s headquarters to verify the transaction, he finally realised he had been scammed, the Telegraph reports. 

He was not the only employee targeted by scammers at the company, whose name police have not made public.

The employee in Hong Kong first received an email supposedly from his chief financial officer (CFO) in the UK, which initially made him suspicious (stock image)

This is the first scamming case where AI is used to fake multiple people on a call, with Hong Kong police saying they were making the case public to warn others.

It comes after concerning cases of deepfake scams have been on the rise worldwide, in which scammers assume a person’s likeness and imitate their voice.

All the scammers need for this are just seconds of video footage. 

READ MORE: The real life women whose faces have been stolen by AI

Previously known were one-on-one calls, as it is easier to fake just one person rather than multiple like in the case in Hong Kong. 

Back in 2019, a British energy company employee paid £200,000 to a scammer of they impersonated their boss. 

Recently deepfake videos of public figures like Rishi Sunak have been circulating on social media, while fake explicit pictures of Taylor Swift were uploaded to X/Twitter just last month.

They were quickly taken down and the AI tool likely used to generate the images was later altered by Microsoft

The singer’s likeness was previously used to create a deepfake. In January, scammers circulated an ad of her which promoted a non-existent giveaway between Swift and Le Creuset cookware.

The advert featured a synthetic version of Swift’s voice, spliced with footage of her and Le Creuset dutch ovens, saying: ‘Hey y’all, it’s Taylor Swift here. Due to a packaging error, we can’t sell 3,000 Le Creuset cookware sets, so I’m giving them away to my loyal fans for free.’

Fraudsters created a deep fake ad using Taylor Swift ‘s likeness in a bid to scam her fans out of money. The AI -generated ad, which had been circulating on Facebook last month month, promoted a non-existent giveaway between the popstar and Le Creuset cookware

Customers who clicked on the ad, which has since been removed from Facebook, would then be directed to websites mimicking popular homegoods platforms like Food Network, according to the New York Times.

Sweepstakes participants would then be asked to pay a ‘small shipping fee of $9.96’ to receive their free cookware. After providing payment, consumers were reportedly hit with monthly charges and never received the cooking set.

Le Creuset said that it is not collaborating with Swift, 34, on any consumer giveaways and encouraged shoppers to get its official social media accounts before clicking on adverts.

The ad had amassed around 2,300 views before it was taken off down. A spokesperson for Meta, the platform’s parent company, confirmed to NBC News that it had removed the ad. 



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