Sophisticated Scam in Hong Kong Tricks Multinational Firm Out of $25.6 Million, Scammer Posed as Company's CFO

This is first of its kind case where financial institution became victim of such hi-tech crime

A sneaky scam using fake videos has cost a multinational firm a whopping $25.6 million! The crook pretended to be the company's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) during a video call and tricked employees into sending money to fake bank accounts. But here's the twist – the person they saw and heard wasn't real! The scammer used deepfake technology to make fake videos look and sound super convincing.

deepfake scam

The scam is so advanced that even the police in Hong Kong, where it happened, say it's the first time they've seen this kind of trickery used to steal money. Imagine being in a video call where everyone seems real, but they're all fake – that's what happened here! This marks the first reported instance of deepfake technology being employed to defraud a financial institution, as confirmed by the Hong Kong Police.

Acting senior superintendent Baron Chan Shun-ching emphasized the extent of the deception, stating, "This time, in a multi-person video conference, it turns out that everyone you see is fake." The scammers even mimicked the voices of their targets, further enhancing the illusion of authenticity.

During the fraudulent conference call, employees were instructed to execute 15 transfers totaling HK$200 million or US $25.5 million to five different Hong Kong bank accounts, highlighting the magnitude of the financial loss incurred by the company.

Recently in another deepfake scam that rocked the world, scammer @Zvbear made fake explicit videos of American singer Taylor Swift and posted them online. These videos were so bad that the social media platform X had to ban searches for Taylor Swift to stop them from spreading.

Because of scams like these, lawmakers in the United States are working on laws to make it illegal to make fake videos like this. It's a big deal because these fake videos are causing a lot of harm. Instances of celebrities and common people being duped using artificial intelligence are becoming rampant.

In response to these high-tech crimes, the police in Hong Kong are stepping up their game. They've launched programs to help people learn how to stay safe online and avoid falling victim to scams like this one. It's all about staying one step ahead of the bad guys in the digital age.

Related topics : Artificial intelligence