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Company pays out $25 million after deepfake 'chief financial officer' tricks worker into processing payment

Company pays out $25 million after deepfake 'chief financial officer' tricks worker into processing payment

The unfortunate worker was scammed by a deepfake 'chief financial officer'.

A company has paid out a whopping $25 million after a deepfake 'chief financial officer' tricked a worker into processing the large financial payment.

Deepfakes have been a very worrying development as AI capabilities continue to grow.

Just in the past few weeks, we've seen Taylor Swift become the victim of AI deepfake nudes, with the 'Shake it Off' singer said to be 'considering legal action' surrounding the matter.

Now, a finance worker in Hong Kong has been duped into paying $25 million by fraudsters who posed as his company's chief financial officer on a video call.

To be honest, after seeing the face of someone you recognize on a video call, you are not really going to have any suspicions surrounding sending the money over.

However, what the worker thought was his company's chief financial officer was actually a deepfake recreation, according to Hong Kong police.

The payment was part of a deepfake scam.
Getty Stock Images

Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Friday (February 2), acting senior superintendent Baron Chan told reporters: "Because the people in the video conference looked like the real people, the informant [clerk]...made 15 transactions as instructed to five local bank accounts, which came to a total of HK$200 million."

Officers suspect that the deepfake was created based on past genuine online conferences attended by staff from the company.

"This time, in a multi-person video conference, it turns out that everyone you see is fake," Chan told local press.

"I believe the fraudster downloaded videos in advance and then used AI to add fake voices to use in the video conference."

The worker was instructed to make the $25 million transaction on the call - something he thought was completely legitimate.

The worker made the $25 million transaction.
Getty Stock Images

But after inquiring the huge transaction at the company's headquarters a week later, the worker devastatingly discovered it was a scam.

This particular worker is not the only one to have been targeted by these deepfake fraudsters, however, with police saying two to three employees from the same company were also targeted.

Chan added: "We want to alert the public to these new deception tactics. In the past, we would assume these scams would only involve two people in one-on-one situations, but 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."

This case is the first instance of a scam procuring a large sum of money in Hong Kong.

An investigation is currently underway, with no arrests having been made yet.

Police are now advising people to confirm details via regular communication channels to avoid being caught out by a deepfake scam.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: World News, Money