Deepfake technology, driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), has attracted considerable interest due to its capability of producing hyper-realistic videos. Initially, these AI-generated videos replicating prominent individuals such as Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Tom Cruise,  and Leo DiCaprio, were seen as fascinating demonstrations of technological progress. However, a growing concern is emerging around the potential misuse of this technology, particularly in the realm of online scams.

An Instance of Deepfake Scam in India

A recent incident from India provides a clear example of this technology’s malicious application. A man lost Rs 40,000 (approximately $490) in a scam where the fraudster used deepfake technology to impersonate one of his former colleagues on a WhatsApp video call, as reported by MySmartPrice. The victim, named Radhakrishnan, was persuaded to transfer the money due to the uncanny resemblance. He only grew suspicious when the scammer demanded an additional sum, leading him to investigate and discover the deception.

The Frequency of Deepfake Scams

Contrary to the belief that these scams are rare, data suggests that they might be more widespread than assumed. Research conducted by cybersecurity organization McAfee revealed that 1 in 10 individuals had been targeted by AI voice or deepfake scams, and 15% reported knowing someone who had fallen victim to such a scheme.

International Instances of Deepfake Scams

The issue of deepfake scams is not confined to one geographical area. A case from Baotou, China, involved an individual who used AI face-swapping technology during a video call to pose as the victim’s friend, convincing them to transfer 4.3 million yuan (above $600,000). Additionally, in the United Kingdom, deepfake scam advertisements are on the rise. Consumer finance expert Martin Lewis pointed out an advertisement that used a deepfake to mimic him, thus potentially leading to financial losses for those deceived.

What Constitutes a Deepfake Video?

A deepfake video uses AI to create a convincing depiction of someone other than the original subject. AI technology processes and analyzes data, including facial images and voice recordings, to generate realistic deepfake videos that closely imitate a person’s appearance and voice.

Guidelines to Safeguard Against Deepfake Video Scams

Given the quick pace of AI advancement and lagging legislation, it is vital to be able to distinguish deepfake videos. Some characteristics to consider include inferior video quality, video loops or abrupt endings, distortions caused by video resizing, and suspicious content. Scrutinizing the caller, particularly if they’re not listed in your contacts, can also prove beneficial. If the conversation feels abnormal compared to your usual interaction with the person they claim to be, caution is advised.

Deepfake Technology

The rise of deepfake scams underscores the negative implications of technology advancements. As AI becomes further integrated into our daily lives, it is critical to stay informed about the potential risks it poses. Being aware of evolving scams like these and remaining vigilant can assist in safeguarding against becoming a victim.