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Multinational Loses $26 Million to AI Video Scam

AI Video (News Central TV)

A multinational firm in Hong Kong, China was tricked of around N25.5 billion ($26 million) after scammers impersonated some senior staff with an AI video, Police say.

The scam, which is one of the first cases of its kind in the city, involved the use of a deep fake technology to make conference calls, requesting employees “to transfer money to designated bank accounts”.

On January 29, when the matter was reported to the police, approximately HN25.5 billion (US$26 million) had already been lost through 15 transfers.

“Investigations are still ongoing and no arrest has been made so far,” the police stated without mentioning the company’s name.

The victim worked in the finance department, and the con artists claimed to be the company’s chief financial officer with a base in the UK, Hong Kong media sources say.

According to Acting Senior Superintendent Baron Chan, several participants were involved in the AI video call but only the victim was not impersonated.

“Scammers found publicly available video and audio of the impersonation targets via YouTube, then used deepfake technology to emulate their voices… to lure the victim to follow their instructions,” Chan told journalists.

He added that the deepfake AI videos were all pre-recorded and did not include interaction or dialogue with the victim.

“Since the first half of 2022 still saw pandemic restrictions, the tally for traditional crimes was particularly low, with some reaching historical lows,” the Police chief said. “As society recovered in 2023, most traditional crimes also rose.”

According to statistics, the police handled 90,276 crimes last year with 44.1 per cent (39,824) recorded as scams.

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