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Deepfake: tricked by cloned voices, a company transfers funds to scammers

Scammers have scammed a Chinese multinational using deepfake technology, a first that could inspire others.

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Deepfake: tricked by cloned voices, a company transfers funds to scammers

Scammers have scammed a Chinese multinational using deepfake technology, a first that could inspire others. The deceived company paid $26 million to these cybercriminals, city police reported.

A deepfake is a video or audio recording made or modified using artificial intelligence. It has the potential for misinformation and misuse, such as deepfake images showing people saying things they never said.

Also read: Pornographic deepfakes targeting Taylor Swift raise awareness of the dangers of AI

An employee of a company in a Chinese financial center received "video conference calls from someone posing as a senior manager of his company asking him to transfer money to designated bank accounts," the agency said. police at the AFP.

Police received a report of the incident on January 29, by which time some HK$200 million (US$26 million) had already been lost via 15 transfers. “Investigations are still ongoing and no arrests have been made so far,” police said, without disclosing the name of the company.

The victim worked in the finance department and the scammers posed as the company's finance director, based in the UK. A senior police official said the video conference involved several participants, but all except the victim were “fake”.

“The scammers found publicly available videos and audios via YouTube and then used deepfake technology to imitate their voices to trick the victim into following their instructions,” the police officer told reporters.

The deepfake videos were pre-recorded and did not involve any dialogue or interaction with the victim, he added.

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