March 27, 2024
$25M Deepfake Scam Hits Multinational Firm's Finances
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$25M Deepfake Scam Hits Multinational Firm’s Finances

Deepfake scammers executed a sophisticated scheme, duping a multinational firm employee into transferring over $25 million in company funds. The elaborate scam involved impersonating various company executives in a video meeting. According to Acting Senior Superintendent Baron Chan of the Hong Kong Police Force’s Cyber Security Division, the employee received a fake message from the firm’s CFO, initiating a video call to discuss a confidential transaction. The scammers utilized deepfake technology, incorporating fabricated voices, to convince the employee to transfer funds across 15 transactions to five bank accounts, totaling $25.5 million.

Chan believes the scammers employed AI to create Deepfake impersonations using pre-existing footage of the company’s executives. The elaborate nature of the scam, with deepfaked individuals closely resembling their real counterparts, contributed to the success of the deception. The employee only became aware of the scam after consulting the company’s head office. This incident marks the first of its kind in Hong Kong, reflecting a growing trend of deepfake scams in the region. Chan emphasized the need to alert the public about these evolving deception tactics.

“We can see from this case that fraudsters are able to use AI technology in online meetings, so people must be vigilant even in meetings with lots of participants.”

The Hong Kong Police Force’s Cyber Security Division has been proactive in combating technology crime and enhancing citizens’ online safety. Notably, they launched a metaverse platform in May 2023 to prepare citizens for challenges in the digital age, with a focus on preventing technology-related crimes.

The rise of deepfake scams extends beyond Hong Kong, capturing the attention of U.S. lawmakers. The circulation of fake photos of Taylor Swift prompted U.S. Representative Joe Morelle to advocate for criminalizing the production of deepfake images in the United States. The incident underscores the increasing threat posed by deepfake technology, emphasizing the need for vigilance and enhanced cybersecurity measures to counter such deceptive practices in the evolving digital landscape.

Image by Kerfin7 on Freepik

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