Deepfake posing grave danger as scamming tool

After being detected with tricks of sending messages to appropriate money, scammers are now using an even more sophisticated tool called Deepfake to make fake video calls to victims and ask for money transfer.
A case of faking the visual data of a famous international actor using Deepfake technology

A case of faking the visual data of a famous international actor using Deepfake technology

Nearly a week after discovering that he was scammed and lost VND100 million (US$4,200), N.C.P. (staying in Thu Duc City) can gradually understand the trick. He had received a message from his relative living abroad via Facebook, asking to borrow VND100 million. Being a careful person, he called back to verify the information. When seeing the image and hearing the voice of this relative, he confidently transferred the amount. Back home, he was panicked, discovering that this Facebook account of his relative had been hacked and used for scamming purposes via processing current images and videos in that account.

Experiencing a similar trick is C.T.N.Y. from District 8. She recalled that while working, she received a Facebook message from her close friend to borrow VND150 million ($6,400) to pay back a bank loan. Aware that there are many fraudulences now, she verified this information with an Internet video call and could see the blurry image of her friend. Hearing the explanation that this blur is due to unstable Internet connection, she then confidently transferred a third of the requested money with a notice to her friend. Till the end of the day, only by calling her friend by a mobile phone number did she discover that this Facebook account had been hacked and used for scamming purposes.

Lately, the police in Hanoi, Thai Nguyen Province, Tuyen Quang Province have repeatedly posted warnings about cybercrimes using Deepfake technology. Besides using it to appropriate money, criminals also create fake images, videos, and speeches of celebrities or politicians before spreading them on social networks for ill purposes such as going against the Party and the State of Vietnam (propagandizing issues contrary to the Vietnamese law, fabricating stories about the political, socio-economic status in Vietnam).

Ngo Minh Hieu from the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) stated that as there are now various tools to help create a Deepfake video, in the upcoming time when Vietnamese criminals are more aware of this lucrative method, a new serious wave of cyber scams will appear to trick even the most careful people.

Being a person whose images have been illegally used for advertising purposes, MC and actor Quyen Linh expressed his annoyance. He has publicly warned about the state of his images being used without his permission to market different medicines nationally and internationally. His lawyer has collected evidence for the past 2 years from over 2,000 such illegal advertisements. However, stopping this act is extremely challenging since most ads are spams without permits. He hopes that functional agencies more strictly handle this situation and punish those creating unlawful virtual advertisements.

Also sharing the frustration over the situation is Doctor Truong Huu Khanh – Head of the Community Work Department under Children’s Hospital No.1. He informed that since 2017, his images have been used by several websites and social network pages without his permission for medicine marketing purposes. His Fanpage ‘Hoi bac si Nhi Dong’ (Asking for advice from pediatricians) has even been faked. Besides telling those asking him for further information about the medicines that it was not him who advertises the product, he has posted warnings on his official social network page to avoid the case that parents trust the ads and buy the marketed medicines, which might lead to unpredictable impacts.

A typical scam using Deepfake technology includes:

1 Collecting visual data of victims from Facebook, Zalo, etc.

2 Collecting victims’ personal date: phone number, email address, relationships

3 Making a phone call via a strange number of record the language use and intonation of victims

4 Creating a deepfake video, then sending messages and making video calls to acquaintances of victims

In related news, the HCMC Department of Public Security informed that in the city lately, there is a trick to call victims and ask for money transfer, saying that their children, friends, or relatives are in a medical emergency and in need of money. Only at the beginning of this March, various cases have been reported in HCMC and neighboring provinces. Hundreds of millions of VND have been appropriated. At present, the HCMC Police are investigating the case, with signs that these are cross-border criminals.

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