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Hong Kong Clerk Falls Victim to Deepfake Scam, Loses HK$200 Million to Fraudsters

TL;DR

  • A Hong Kong clerk was defrauded of HK$200 million in a deepfake scam involving an AI-generated video conference.
  • The scam saw the clerk as the sole real participant, with all other participants being deepfake characters resembling colleagues.
  • The incident underscores the need for vigilance in online meetings, even with multiple participants, as fraudsters increasingly use AI technology for deception.

In a shocking incident, a clerk working for a multinational company in Hong Kong was duped into transferring HK$200 million to fraudsters after joining a video conference where all other participants were AI-generated deepfakes. The Hong Kong police revealed this alarming case of deception on Sunday.

The elaborate deepfake deception

The unfortunate clerk found themselves as the only real person in what appeared to be a legitimate video conference. The rest of the participants, seemingly the worker’s colleagues, turned out to be AI-generated characters meticulously crafted by the scammers. These deepfake personas were based on genuine online conferences that had taken place in the past.

Acting senior superintendent Baron Chan, from the police force’s cyber security division, shed light on the deception: “[The fraudster] invited the informant [clerk] to a video conference that would have many participants. Because the people in the video conference looked like real people, the informant… made 15 transactions as instructed to five local bank accounts, which totaled HK$200 million.”

Chan further explained that the fraudster likely downloaded videos in advance and then employed artificial intelligence to create fake voices for use in the video conference.

How the scam unfolded

This troubling incident began last month when the clerk received a message, ostensibly from the company’s chief financial officer, inviting them to participate in a video call to discuss confidential transactions. The clerk, believing it to be a genuine request, proceeded to follow the instructions provided during the video conference.

It was only later, after communicating with the company’s head office, that the clerk realized the extent of the elaborate scam they had fallen victim to.

Warning to the public

The Hong Kong police are using this incident to caution the public about these evolving deception tactics. Traditionally, scams were perceived to involve one-on-one situations, but this case illustrates how fraudsters are now leveraging AI technology to carry out elaborate scams in online meetings with multiple participants.

Baron Chan emphasized the need for vigilance, even in meetings with numerous participants. He urged individuals to take precautions by confirming meeting details through regular communication channels and asking questions during video conferences to verify the authenticity of other participants.

Protecting against fake online meetings

To avoid falling victim to fake online meetings, people are advised to take the following precautions:

1. Verify details: Confirm the details of the meeting through trusted communication channels before taking any actions.

2. Ask Questions: During video conferences, ask questions to ensure that other participants are who they claim to be.

3. Stay Informed: Stay aware of evolving scam tactics and be cautious when conducting financial transactions or sharing sensitive information online.

This incident serves as a stark reminder that the world of cybercrime is constantly evolving, and individuals and organizations must remain vigilant to protect themselves from sophisticated scams and deepfake-based deceptions.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Glory Kaburu

Glory is an extremely knowledgeable journalist proficient with AI tools and research. She is passionate about AI and has authored several articles on the subject. She keeps herself abreast of the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and writes about them regularly.

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