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AI-savvy scammer uses deepfake video to steal ₹40,000 via WhatsApp

AI-savvy scammer uses deepfake video to steal ₹40,000 via WhatsApp
  • The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has also enabled scamsters to innovatively use AI to scam people.
  • A 73-year-old retired government employee was scammed into transferring ₹40,000 to a fraudster using an AI deepfake video.
  • The scammer used an AI deepfake to impersonate the victim’s friend.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become mainstream since the launch of ChatGPT, with awareness about AI’s abilities growing by the day. While AI has its fair share of benefits, it has also been put to some scary uses.

In a bizarre incident, a WhatsApp scammer has used AI deepfake video to steal ₹40,000 from PS Radhakrishnan, a 73-year-old retired government employee from Kozhikode, Kerala.

The Kerala Police have shared information about the incident in a post on Facebook. According to the post, the scammer used artificial intelligence to impersonate an ex-colleague of Radhakrishnan’s to dupe the latter into transferring ₹40,000.
What is AI deepfake?
To understand what happened, we need to first understand what AI deepfake actually is. Deepfake involves using AI to replace the likeness of one person with another. This may be in the form of video or audio.
The modus operandi
According to a report, the victim, Radhakrishnan, received a call from a person pretending to be his friend with whom he had worked for nearly four decades in Coal India. Initially, he asked the victim about his family members, shared his own family photographs and talked about their mutual colleagues.

Later, the scammer called the victim and claimed that he was at the Dubai airport, waiting to board a flight to India. He then claimed that his sister-in-law was being prepped for an emergency surgery in Mumbai and an advance of ₹40,000 was needed.

Radhakrishnan was initially sceptical and did not wish to send the money fearing an online scam. The scammer then said that he would immediately video call to put Radhakrishnan’s fears to rest.

The scammer then video-called Radhakrishnan and spoke to him for 25 seconds. The victim has claimed that the scammer looked exactly like his friend and spoke like a normal person. This prompted him to send ₹40,000 to the scammer. The scammer then again called the victim, asking for an additional ₹35,000.

This spooked Radhakrishnan, who then contacted his friend seeking confirmation but the friend denied any knowledge about all of this. After realising he had been scammed, Radhakrishnan approached the National Cyber Cell and the complaint was then transferred to the Kerala Police.

The police were able to trace the money and froze the account. The Kerala Police have said that they have been able to recover the entire amount of ₹40,000.


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