Deep Fake Scams Growing in Global Frequency and Sophistication, Victim Warns

In an elaborate scam in January, “a finance worker, was duped into attending a video call with people he believed were the chief financial officer and other members of staff,” remembers CNN. But Hong Kong police later said that all of them turned out to be deepfake re-creations which duped the employee into transferring $25 million.
According to police, the worker had initially suspected he had received a phishing email from the company’s UK office, as it specified the need for a secret transaction to be carried out. However, the worker put aside his doubts after the video call because other people in attendance had looked and sounded just like colleagues he recognized.

Now the targeted company has been revealed: a major engineering consulting firm, with 18,500 employees across 34 offices:
A spokesperson for London-based Arup told CNN on Friday that it notified Hong Kong police in January about the fraud incident, and confirmed that fake voices and images were used. “Unfortunately, we can’t go into details at this stage as the incident is still the subject of an ongoing investigation. However, we can confirm that fake voices and images were used,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Our financial stability and business operations were not affected and none of our internal systems were compromised,” the person added…

Authorities around the world are growing increasingly concerned about the sophistication of deepfake technology and the nefarious uses it can be put to. In an internal memo seen by CNN, Arup’s East Asia regional chairman, Michael Kwok, said the “frequency and sophistication of these attacks are rapidly increasing globally, and we all have a duty to stay informed and alert about how to spot different techniques used by scammers.”

The company’s global CIO emailed CNN this statement. “Like many other businesses around the globe, our operations are subject to regular attacks, including invoice fraud, phishing scams, WhatsApp voice spoofing, and deepfakes.

“What we have seen is that the number and sophistication of these attacks has been rising sharply in recent months.”