Hong Kong, Feb 5 (IANS) A fake video conference call where a digitally recreated avatar of the chief financial officer (CFO) ordered money transfers has cost a multinational company $25.6 million in a first-of-its-kind scam.
Employees in the company’s Hong Kong office were duped by fraudsters who created digitally altered versions of the company’s CFO and others in a video call where “everyone looked real”.
Everyone present in the video calls, except the victim, was a fake representation of real people, the South China Morning Post reported.
“The fraudsters applied deepfake technology to convert publicly available video and other images into convincing versions of the meeting participants,” the report said.
Police say the case is the first known case of fraudsters using deepfakes to trick financial agencies.
“This time, in a multi-person video conference, it turns out that everyone you see is fake,” Acting Senior Superintendent Baron Chan Shun-ching said.
The company employees on the call looked and sounded like real people that the target employee recognized.
They followed instructions given during the meeting and made 15 transfers totaling HK$200 million ($25.6 million) to five Hong Kong bank accounts.
“They used deepfake technology to mimic their targets’ voices reading a script,” Chan said.
Fake porn images of singer Taylor Swift had recently gone viral. Elon Musk-run X had banned searches for Swift which blocked queries of her name for several days after the spread of explicit and digitally altered images of her.