Authorities have reported a disturbing case in northern China where a scammer successfully deceived an individual out of their money by impersonating their friend using AI-powered face-swapping and voice-cloning software, according to Reuters.
This incident highlights the ease with which scammers can exploit new AI tools to create deepfakes and profit from their deceitful actions.
While instances of scammers using voice cloning to extract money from victims over the phone have been reported, this recent case shows a disturbing future where perpetrators can even assume the physical identity of a victim’s acquaintance.
Law enforcement in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, disclosed that the scammer convinced a friend to transfer a substantial sum of $622,000 during a video call, claiming it was a deposit for a bidding process. Shortly afterward, the victim contacted their real friend, who had no knowledge of the conversation.
Fortunately, the victim has managed to recover most of the stolen funds, with ongoing efforts to retrieve the remaining amount, as reported by Reuters.
Seniors, in particular, are increasingly targeted by scammers utilizing voice-cloning technology to impersonate relatives and request money for supposed emergencies.
In a recent incident, a mother received a call from an alleged kidnapper of her daughter, with the perpetrator seemingly using voice cloning in the background. This troubling trend is not limited to a specific region, and concerns have been voiced on Chinese social media platform Weibo about the proliferation of AI scams throughout the country.
In response to this growing issue, regulators are intensifying their scrutiny of deepfake applications capable of altering someone’s voice and appearance, as reported by Reuters. However, the effectiveness of these measures in combating the trend remains uncertain.
As technology continues to advance, cloned voices and faces will inevitably become increasingly indistinguishable from real ones, posing a significant challenge for law enforcement agencies to keep pace with these deceptive practices.