AI has transformed the way we look at advanced technologies. As the use of AI is evolving, it also raises a concern about AI-based deepfake scams. Where scammers use AI technologies to create deep fake videos, images and audio to deceive people and commit AI-based crimes. Recently a Kerala man fall victim to such a scam. He received a WhatsApp video call, the scammer impersonated the face of the victim’s known friend using AI-based deep fake technology. There is a need for awareness and vigilance to safeguard ourselves from such incidents.
Unveiling the Kerala deep fake video call Scam
The man in Kerala received a WhatsApp video call from a person claiming to be his former colleague in Andhra Pradesh. In actuality, he was the scammer. He asked for help of 40,000 rupees from the Kerala man via google pay. Scammer to gain the trust even mentioned some common friends with the victim. The scammer said that he is at the Dubai airport and urgently need the money for the medical emergency of his sister.
As AI is capable of analysing and processing data such as facial images, videos, and audio creating a realistic deep fake of the same which closely resembles as real one. In the Kerala Deepfake video call scam the scammer made a video call that featured a convincingly similar facial appearance and voice as same to the victim’s colleague which the scammer was impersonating. The Kerala man believing that he was genuinely communicating with his colleague, transferred the money without hesitation. The Kerala man then called his former colleague on the number he had saved earlier in his contact list, and his former colleague said that he has not called him. Kerala man realised that he had been cheated by a scammer, who has used AI-based deep-fake technology to impersonate his former colleague.
Recognising Deepfake Red Flags
Deepfake-based scams are on the rise, as they pose challenges that really make it difficult to distinguish between genuine and fabricated audio, videos and images. Deepfake technology is capable of creating entirely fictional photos and videos from scratch. In fact, audio can be deepfaked too, to create “voice clones” of anyone.
However, there are some red flags which can indicate the authenticity of the content:
- Video quality- Deepfake videos often have compromised or poor video quality, and unusual blur resolution, which might pose a question to its genuineness.
- Looping videos: Deepfake videos often loop or unusually freeze or where the footage repeats itself, indicating that the video content might be fabricated.
- Verify Separately: Whenever you receive requests for such as financial help, verify the situation by directly contacting the person through a separate channel such as a phone call on his primary contact number.
- Be vigilant: Scammers often possess a sense of urgency leading to giving no time to the victim to think upon it and deceiving them by making a quick decision. So be vigilant and cautious when receiving and entertaining such a sudden emergency which demands financial support from you on an urgent basis.
- Report suspicious activity: If you encounter such activities on your social media accounts or through such calls report it to the platform or to the relevant authority.
The advanced nature of AI deepfake technology has introduced challenges in combatting such AI-based cyber crimes. The Kerala man’s case of falling victim to an AI-based deepfake video call and losing Rs 40,000 serves as an alarming need to remain extra vigilant and cautious in the digital age. So in the reported incident where Kerala man received a call from a person appearing as his former colleague but in actuality, he was a scammer and tricking the victim by using AI-based deepfake technology. By being aware of such types of rising scams and following precautionary measures we can protect ourselves from falling victim to such AI-based cyber crimes. And stay protected from such malicious scammers who exploit these technologies for their financial gain. Stay cautious and safe in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Author: Neeraj Soni, Intern – Policy & Advocacy team, CyberPeace Foundation