Hong Kong: A deepfake 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-such scam.
Employees at the company’s Hong Kong office were fooled by scammers who created digitally-altered versions of the company’s CFO and others in a video call where “everyone looked real”.
Everyone present on the video calls except the victim was a fake representation of real people, South China Morning Post reported.
“The scammers applied deepfake technology to turn publicly available video and other footage into convincing versions of the meeting’s participants,” said the report.
Police say the case is the first known instance of scammers using deepfakes to deceive 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 was quoted as saying.
The company employees in the call looked and sounded like real people the targeted employee recognised.
They followed instructions given during the meeting and made 15 transfers totalling HK$200 million $25.6 million) to five Hong Kong bank accounts.
“They used deepfake technology to imitate the voice of their targets reading from a script,” Chan said.
Deepfake porn images of singer Taylor Swift had recently gone viral. Elon Musk-run X had put a ban on searches for Swift that blocked queries of her name for several days following the spread of explicit, digitally-altered images of her.